Craft ideas for antique jewelry
Make creative use of family or antique cosmetic jewelry by trying some of these interesting ideas for preserving and displaying attractive pieces.
Collectors of old jewelry sometimes run out of places to store it. Then they must decide whether to discard certain pieces and shop anew or find a new use for the old things.
If you have a few select pieces of antique jewelry that you would like to hold on to and make use of, here are some craft tips that might come in handy.
Keep in mind that antique jewelry may be as recent as the past few decades or may go back more than a century. The more valuable the piece, the more likely you are to want to preserve it. The most expensive items should be protected in a bank vault or secured jewelry storage area. But those that are old and more attractive than valuable may be worth puttering with to create a fun or cute craft.
Let's start with a sash pin. Women don't really wear many sashes anymore, since this is a fashion of bygone eras. But a cute, small pin designed for the purpose of securing a sash may be just the thing for a decorator piece. Use an old sash if you have one, or buy a scarf or dresser runner that resembles an old fashioned sash. Drape it diagonally across an accent table in your bedroom or study. You can also lay it across a period rocking chair or settee. Secure the pin so that it is visible to occupants of the room. You will have an interesting accent piece that recalls an earlier time period. Coordinate this item with the rest of the room's decor to create an authentic air.
Another popular item is a Boucher, or a basic dress pin. Designed in a variety of styles, this item takes many forms and sizes in a bevy of interesting shapes and colors. Use a pin like this one, perhaps in the shape of a turtle or a leaf, as adornment for a wall-hung pillow or pincushion. Decorator chair or bed pillows also may be accented with this type of pin as a special effect, especially when the rest of the room is decorated to recall an earlier time in history.
Rhinestone necklaces, earrings, and brooches were especially popular a century or more ago. Worn for special occasions, these often have sentimental or prized value from their original owners and current descendents. You can purchase an ornate dresser top doll that is meant to be admired, not played with, and place the jewelry on her for display. That way it doesn't sit in a dark, forgotten box in the bottom of a jewelry box. Be sure your doll is dressed in fashion clothing of a similar period so the jewelry fits her style.
Colorful beads, glass or otherwise, can be used in many interesting craft projects. Turn a string of beads into a lamp switch pull cord. Or sew small bracelets (with clasps removed and the ends secured) to decorator pillows, one per corner. Separate strands of beads into the same number for several shorter pieces, securing the ends of each. Sew these to a lampshade for a decorous effect. You can add an artificial blossom of flowers to a couple of strands of beads, and place one on either end of your closet door frame for adornment.
Matching earrings and necklace or bracelet can be secured to a coordinating cloth backdrop in an artful arrangement. You can embroider initials or a few words with a date above, between, or below the pieces, or leave the backdrop blank. Matte the fabric in a glass frame, taking care that the jewelry doesn't scratch the glass. Hang the attractive display in a room where visitors can admire its former elegance and current beauty.
Use your imagination to put old jewelry to good use. Pillows, scarves, vases, and picture frames can be accented or trimmed with unusual jewelry pieces. Check out your local craft shop or pick up a book from the library on jewelry crafts for more ideas on how to showcase yesterday's treasures in today's designs.