© by Rena Klingenberg; all rights reserved.
I love designing jewelry from vintage items – incorporating neat old stuff into my current jewelry creations.
This melding of modern techniques with items from yesteryear results in wonderfully unique jewelry that (depending on the elements used) can feel romantic, gothic, kitschy, or iconic – and people of all ages are attracted to it.
These “repurposed vintage” designs are usually handmade and one-of-a-kind – so customers sense that if they fall in love with one of these pieces, they’d better buy it now.
So what types of vintage items make good jewelry components, and where can you get them?
A Treasure Hunt for
Vintage Jewelry Components
Naturally if you want to make wearable jewelry, it’s a good idea to use elements that are sufficiently small and lightweight to be worn comfortably.
And while you’re hunting for items you can use, look beyond what most people see.
Especially consider vintage items that don’t have anything to do with jewelry.
Also look for items you could take apart, and use the parts.
Similarly, look carefully for possibilities in broken items – can you use any parts of them in a jewelry project?
Vintage Items that
Work Well in Jewelry
- antique keys
- postage stamps
- old photos
- bits of old letters or postcards
- pictures clipped from vintage magazines or catalogs
- old jewelry you can take apart for clasps, lockets, stampings, beads, etc.
- typewriter / adding machine parts
- scraps of lace, ribbon, or fabric
- antique buttons
- game pieces
- vintage sewing supplies
- old clocks and watches, taken apart – gears, etc.
- small appliances, taken apart
- small toys, dolls, or the parts of them
- small vintage travel souvenirs
- antique spoons or other silverware
- crocheted doilies
- tiny containers – bottles, tins, etc.
- bottle caps
- Crackerjack prizes or cereal-box toys
- pieces from old tools or equipment
- medical, dental, and optical supplies
- old eyeglasses
- baby items
- sentimental occasion items – wedding favors, anniversary items
- shards of china, pottery, or glassware.
Where to Find
Cool Vintage Items for Your
See Finding Vintage Items for Jewelry Making – where and how to source wonderful old odds and ends to use for designing jewelry from vintage items.