it is fun to buy old jewelry, pull it apart, clean it, and make new things

Pulling apart, cleaning and re-using

The past few weeks, I’ve been buying a lot of jewelry materials on sale, which of course is fine. I save money, and get new pieces to play with, thus having the opportunity to create new jewelry. After receiving one of two packages I was waiting for yesterday though, I started thinking about my goals with this hobby, and it actually made me kind of sad. Originally, I wanted to recycle old jewelry, and only buy new materials when needed. I’ve gotten off my path, and although I will of course keep buying new beads and stuff, I also want to go back to my original idea!

So I grabbed my boxes containing old jewelry I’ve been buying in second hand shops and at flea markets, and started pulling them apart, trying to get a good idea of what I actually had to work with. It took me 3 hours to pull an old necklace apart, and clean every piece afterwards. But it was worth it! My fingers and arms hurt from pulling and cleaning, but the beads and metal pieces look almost like new, and I can use many of them in new projects.

Today, my other package came, which was mainly waxed cord in various colors, which I need anyway, no matter whether I buy new beads or not. But after being happy about my new stuff, I went back to my boxes of old bling. A lot of chains were repaired today, more pieces pulled apart, and of course everything has been cleaned. I also cleaned out some old and broken stuff, which I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to use. Cleaning up feels so good, and now I know exactly what I have lying around, and everything is sparkling and ready to use.

To be honest, I think my laziness was the main factor for getting off my path. It’s so easy to walk into a second hand shop, look at their old jewelry, and decide what can be used. But coming home, all tired from the day, not having the energy to pull apart and clean what has been bought, lead me to just put it in a box, and partly forget about it. It’s a pity though, as many of the pieces are prettier than what can be bought new, after spending some time repairing and cleaning them.

Back to the idea of recycling though. My main reason to do it is not because parts are cheaper to buy, as the time I spend disassembling, repairing and cleaning them kind of outweighs it. No, I simply want what nobody else can get, and thus create unique jewelry. That old necklace I pulled apart yesterday can’t be bought in the store anymore, and therefore the pieces are rare and exclusive. Everyone can go to the nearest hobby store and buy new materials, resulting in many people creating jewelry that looks similar. It’s true, just try looking around Etsy. Where is the fun in that?

I want to leave a fingerprint on my work though, something that shows the buyer, that this piece is unique, and that I put my heart into creating it. I spend a lot of time in second hand shops and on flea markets looking for the perfect pieces, as well as pulling apart, repairing and cleaning them. That’s what I like doing, and that’s what I want a potential customer to see in my work.

Recycling is also very good for the environment, but that’s something I’d like to write about next week, so keep an eye out for my next post, which will be about upcycling, recycling and downcycling in general 🙂

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