Re-Purposing My Mother’s Jewelry

by Jeanette Oglenski.
(Plano, TX)

Re-Purposing My Mother's Jewelry by Jeanette Oglenski  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

Mary’s Ladder to Heaven

Before my mom passed away 2 years ago, she gave me all her jewelry with the express wish that I re-purpose it into pieces I create.

These earrings came from a 5-strand graduated crystal necklace that she used to wear to fancy events

I’ve titled these earrings “Mary’s Ladder to Heaven”.

I made them with twisted gold craft wire (it made the crystals really sparkle), gold toned chain, and golden ear wires.

The crystals were graduated from some of the largest beads of her necklace to the smallest bicones used in the stringing.

I love this memory and tribute to my mom who always encouraged me in my artful endeavors from childhood till she passed away.

Jeanette Oglenski
Old Dog – New Trick Jewelry Design

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  • A big hug for you, Jeanette, and I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I just love these earrings, and the lovely “Mary’s Ladder to Heaven” name. A beautiful design.

  • Jeanette Oglenski says:

    Thank you Rena Klingenberg! It took a while before I could start working with her pieces and I was so happy to be able to remember her this way.

  • Joanne says:

    These are gorgeous, Jeanette… and so meaningful! The pieces I’ve made with some of my mother’s jewelry are among my most meaningful and precious. Sending love and hugs your way.

  • Rhonda G says:

    I really love this idea. I, too, have a jewelry box of my mother’s jewelry that I would like to re-purpose and wear as a tribute. Thank you! R

  • Karen Watson says:

    I too have a huge plastic container full of my Mom’s jewelry, that I haven’t been able to really look at yet, since my oldest daughter and I went through it so she could get what she wanted from it. My Mom loved owls, so my daughter is making a shadow box with several pieces with owls in them. I’m anxious to see how it turns out.

  • Lynda says:

    What a special gift she gave you…and a beautiful creation you made to remember her by.

  • Karen, what a neat idea – a shadow box themed with your Mom’s love for owls! 🙂

  • Jeanette Oglenski says:

    Thank you everyone.
    Karen, I love your shadow box idea, how much fun to remember your mom that way. It took me 2 years to be ready to start working with her jewelry and now I’m so glad I am there.

  • Jean T.K. says:

    Jeanette – those earrings are gorgeous!
    My mom passed away quite a while ago – back in 1989 – and I received all her jewelry. It’s all still in a box. Just last week I was wondering what I was going to do with some of it. Now that I just read this article, I am so inspired! Some I will repurpose into new creations that will still remain a tangible link to my mom. Plus, I LOVE the shadowbox idea too! I just never knew if it would be ‘allowed’, as it were, to change what was once HER jewelry into something a little more updated that I could wear and enjoy also. Thanks for the ‘permission’ to go ahead and have fun! I know my mom’s probably smiling and thinking ‘It’s about time’!

  • Karen Watson says:

    My Mom had given me a bunch of stuff to re purpose, while she was still alive, and she was always so proud of my crazy creations, so I know all our Moms have taken that “Ladder to Heaven” and they are watching us to see what we can create from the gifts they gave us.

  • Heather knott says:

    I love your ladder earrings, what a lovely tribute to mom. I’ve even taken random pieces that were broken/ single earrings, and made them into magnets that I see every day! That way I just know she’s watching over me from the fridge door!!

  • Heather, how lovely! Hugs to you!

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