DIY Repairing vintage jewelry.

Posted by Michelle , Sunday, December 30, 2007 12:36 PM

When I first got into vintage jewelry, I used to get upset at all the damaged jewelry pieces I came across. In the beginning I would hang on to these wounded warriors for some time hoarding items with missing stones, broken clasps, or metal wear. When I started to get a rather large pile, I then started throwing them out as new broken beauties arrived.

Later after reading a book or two on vintage costume jewelry- I thought I would start repairing these pieces myself. In the early days of repair work, it was a big fiasco. Glue spills, bending metal to the point of breakage, losing small parts in the carpet... you get the picture. However, with a lot of practice and good lighting- repair work became easier and more rewarding. Some pieces are just too good for the trash.

Case in point- this beautiful Lisner necklace and bracelet. When it came to me, the necklace was almost entirely intact. Of the necklace, it was missing the adjustable clasp work and there were many missing rhinestones. The bracelet was broken in the middle and missing some rhinestones around this area. The positive aspects of the pieces I had to work with were that there was very little metal wear to the front and back in the areas that were full of rhinestones. Too, the bracelet clasp was entirely intact and shut securely, and the rhinestones in the pieces were a beautiful light maroon/dark pink Aurora Borealis.

Restoring both pieces was not an option. Restoration of the necklace would have been too much work, since I would have had to use other pieces to repair the clasp area. Fortunately, for me I love bracelets!

Around the bracelet clasp there were several links with good rhinestones on them, so I cut off all the remaining bad areas. This left me with a closed bracelet clasp and a couple links of beautiful rhinestones on either side, not nearly enough to close off into a full bracelet. I then took the necklace and cut out of the center all the links that had no metal wear on the back and retained full rhinestones. Instead of cutting out a section needed to make the repair, cut out a larger area just as you would in sewing to anticipate mistakes. Once I had my cutting from the necklace, I measured out how many links I would need to make a well fitting bracelet to my wrist specifications. I then cut out the required amount of links and carefully attached them to the bracelet links using a pair of small needle nose pliers.

I now have one of my favorite rhinestone bracelets that I "made" myself with very little effort and in less then 15 minutes. The pieces cost me very little if anything, bought in a lot on eBay. An intact rhinestone Lisner bracelet of this quality would have cost me upwards of $25 at an estate sale.

Don't fret if you break something you are working on either, remember it was broken in the first place, and you tried your best. The more you work at repair work, the better you get and there is no shortage in broken repairable vintage jewelry.

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