What’s Old is New Again!

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Everyone recycles glass, paper and plastic these days, but what about recycling that heavy, yellow gold chain necklace you inherited from Aunt Bea? It’s just not your taste and so it sits in the jewelry box.

Google gold and silver buyers in your area and head over with the necklace. If it’s fine jewelry, you might be surprised by the money offered for it. Buyers smelt the metal and turn it into bars, coins, other jewelry or electronic components. Gold, silver and other precious metals can be recycled repeatedly without losing quality. So can diamonds and gemstones, though they might need to be re-cut or polished.

A bonus to recycling unwanted jewelry is that the practice is environmentally friendly, offsetting the highly toxic processes of mining gemstones and metal, such as deforestation, acid draining and depletion of ground and surface water sources. Even some of the Crown Jewels were melted down during the English Revolution in 1649, when major pieces had gemstones removed and the metal was recast into coins. Upcycling your jewelry, where you trade in a piece for credit toward something more your style, is another option to consider. Many jewelers incentivize upcycling by giving you a higher trade-in value.

Repurposing means exactly what it sounds like, taking an item and finding another purpose for it rather than letting it collect dust in the safe. Remember that missing pearl earring mate? Why not have a jeweler pull it apart and make it into a ring? Or repurpose your grandmother’s old pendant into a charm for your bracelet or bling for Fifi’s collar! Using family jewelry to make something special like a memorial pendant or engagement ring adds a sentimental, unique touch. By changing the setting, you can remake a gem or semi-precious stone into something more contemporary. In repurposing, the metals are melted down and can be used to create the new piece or sold if the owner wants to use a different metal.

If you don’t own jewelry worth recycling or repurposing, start with second-hand finds from local pawn shops, flea markets, antique stores or online. Check out vintage shops or search precious metals refining services on the internet. Then find a jeweler who relishes re-making jewelry, share any ideas you have and work together to design or modify a new piece. You can find numerous ideas for repurposed designs on the internet.

Keep in mind, a redesign can be costly because salvaging small stones and diamonds is time consuming. Depending on the modern design, some stones may not be needed, and you can resell them for a profit. By supplying most of the materials you can help offset the cost of labor involved with a custom piece. Conversely, you can sell your old jewelry for cash at consignments stores and online auctions or vendors. Frequently, fine jewelry stores sponsor buying events during which you can have jewelry and other items evaluated and purchased.

There’s no shortage of ideas for reusing fine jewelry, as anyone who’s ever been on Pinterest knows. Dress up boring belts with pieces from pendants or earrings. Simply glue the jewelry to that uninspiring belt buckle; go a step further by buying inexpensive second-hand belts at a thrift store. Reuse old jewelry to create beautiful bookmarks by gluing a brooch to a strip of ribbon purchased from a craft store. These bedazzled bookmarks make perfect gifts for the bookworms in your life! Old pins or earrings get new life as magnets to spice up your fridge or bulletin board. It’s a simple project to do; buy magnet bases at a craft store and glue away.

If you’re planning on a bathroom or kitchen redo, add a unique twist by turning old jewelry into drawer pulls. Or replace the handles on your dresser drawers with one-of-a-kind jewel hardware, much prettier than anything you can buy at the store. Hosting a fancy dinner party? Make it extra special by fashioning napkin rings from vintage jewelry pieces. Glue colorful ribbon ends together and once its dried, pin a vintage brooch or cocktail ring to it. Voila! Set a gorgeous table with minimal effort and cost.

Wedding bouquets don’t have to include flowers. On your big day, wear your special family jewelry in a signature garland you created with a bouquet base, lace ribbon and flowers. Turn your mom’s old locket and other pieces into a stunning faux floral. These are just a few ideas for reusing vintage costume and fine jewelry.

At the end of the day, you’ll save the planet while saving yourself money. Eco-friendliness and creativity stay in style. So let the finer things in life be yours by recycling, repurposing and reusing your unwanted jewelry.

Sources: bennhw.medium.com, diyncrafts.com, styleblueprint.com and wealthysinglemommy.com.