Friday, October 23, 2009

Design This – Upcycled Jade n Pearl Necklace

What do you do with material from broken or outdated jewelry? You can recycle, repurpose and upcycle it into “new” fashionable jewelry that fits your current needs. This is exactly the charge that I was given by a recent customer.

My customer had some loose pearls from her mother’s necklace and an outdated double strand jade necklace. (See inset customer's photo in photo #1.) My instructions were to design a fashionable necklace for her daughter from these materials and any others that I thought would give the necklace a more contemporary look. The only other must have was to use 19 of the pearls in the design.

As with my other custom design orders, I took a photo of some possible designs and materials for my customer to give me feedback on. (See photo #1.) The feedback was to just use the jade and pearls that she had sent and surprise her with the design. She also mentioned that she loved the tiger’s eye beads and suggested that I might be able to use them in the bracelet that she wanted me to make for her. (I’ll share this project with you later.)

As I laid out the necklace, I took care to match the color and shape of the jade beads that would be across from each other. At first glance, they may look alike, but they varied by how the holes were drilled, their shape and length and color just enough that attention to these details would make a difference in the look of the finished necklace.

After I was happy with the design, I took a photo with all of the materials laid out, ready to string up the necklace if my customer liked it. (See photo #2.) I got the go ahead, so I assembled the materials into a “new”, upcycled necklace. (See photo #3) I had also had enough jade from one strand of the original double strand jade necklace for this project, that I was able to return it as an updated single strand necklace. At this point I still had some pearls and loose jade beads left. Since the daughter was going to have two new necklaces, I asked if she would like some earrings to go with them. Again, I gave a couple of design options to my customer and then assembled the winning one for a new set of earrings. (See inset in photo #3.)

So don’t rashly throw out that broken bracelet or dated necklace. Think about your current likes and see if they can become a new piece of recycled, repurposed and upcycled jewelry that you can cherish for years to come.


  1. Great journal of how this necklace was made of upcycled materials. I'm sure my daughter will always cherish this special piece of jewelry. Clear explanation and interesting illustrations. I really enjoyed being part of the design process. I look forward to reading about the bracelet, which is on my wrist right now. Lisa

  2. Wow! Gorgeous!I'm sure they will become family heirlooms to be cherished.