16 April 2010


"Make new friends
but keep the old,
One is silver
and the other gold."
~ old song sung at my Brownie meetings

When I was a child I would sneak into my grandmother's jewelry box and sort through all of the rhinestone earrings and pins. I thought that they were all real jewels and that my grandmother had quite a treasure chest.

As I grew older I used to go to vintage resale shops and pick up pretty clip on earrings and brooches. In the 80s I wore my favorite with a peach paisley jacket. For my Junior prom, my mother found a small round rhinestone pin. We attached it to a black velvet ribbon and I wore that as my only adornment with the raspberry and black striped prom dress {oh how I loved that dress! It was striking, since every other girl was dressed in bubble-gum pink or seafoam green. It was 1985 after all}.

And as I have grown up, I have kept my love of old things. I have amassed quite a collection, partly because people are always gifting me with these treasures from their own past.

I live to do custom jewelry orders. When I am asked to make something special for someone my whole process changes. It is not about just making pretty things, or thinking about what might catch the eye of a magazine editor. It is also not about making what I want to wear. It is all about telling the story of the client. Or in this case, telling the story of the client's niece who is preparing to get married this June, connected to the story of the great grandmother.

My client, Sharon, asked me to make something to give the bride-to-be on her shower this weekend. So we met at my favorite local coffee shop, Emy J's, my "office." We had coffee and smoothies, we talked about Sharon's adorable granddaughter. I take the time to be with my clients and get to know them, and find out more about who the person is who will wear this gift. I ask a lot of questions. Some of which are obvious {favorite color palette, necklace length, type of clasp preferred}. Some of them are more subtle {where does she spend her time, what are the things she loves the most, where do you see her wearing this}. I take the time because I am very serious about telling the story of the wearer. In the end it is not about me and my tastes or what is current on the scene. It is all about the person who will open that box, look inside, gasp and say that it is so very perfect.

Sharon gave me two pairs of rhinestone earrings that would be the bride's great grandmother's I believe. One was a bright blue in goldtone metal; the other was a light blue in a silvertone metal. She was okay with me taking them apart and mixing metals. Sharon asked for something fun but not casual, more elegant.

I call this "oldnewborrowedblue" as a perfect title for one about to be wed.

This is a convertible necklace. It is 16" long but is really made up of two separate 8" bracelets. You can wear it as bracelet {or two} or a necklace. I incorporated various goldtone and brass chains, bright blue freshwater pearls and two really stunning blue lampwork beads from FireLily. And I was able to use every single piece that she gave me. For this look, the color was key, and by finding pearls to match the exact hue of blue I was able to breathe new life into a tired look and honor the past while looking to the future.

So how about you? Have you given the Inspired by...Before & After challenge a try?

There is still time to enter the Inspired by...Before & After challenge. I know you all have access to some old costume jewelry, or some treasure from your own box from another decade, or cruise the clearance racks at your favorite stores looking for special components. You have until Friday, April 30th to upload your photos to the Flickr account (see the link in the sidebar). So far we only have one entry {thanks, PeacockFairy!} and it is pretty cool. The winner will have the choice of the prizes shown here.

What are you waiting for? Go and be inspired!

Enjoy the day!


Riki Schumacher said...

Erin, the bride will be knocked out by your beautiful, and very thoughtful, creation! What a wonderful job you did. I love the blues, they all work splendidly together. Great job. Riki xoxo

Judy said...

Erin, you did such a wonderful job! I love the colors and how you made it versatile and there is just enough bling,Gorgeous!!

sandi m said...

Oh, this turned out just belle! I love all the blues - perfect pearl match.
Funny, I just finished a necklace, 3 strand bracelet and cascading earrings in dark indigo, dark sapphire and gold swarovskis for a mother-of-the-bride; wedding tomorrow. Something about the blues were so soothing to work with.
Hope your bride will be just as happy as my m-o-t-b was with hers. Don't forget to tell!

Alexandra said...

I wish I knew how to do something like this.

Your jewelry is like a tangible poem.

Be~Jeweled by Jana said...

That's beautiful. I love that you can wear it as a necklace or bracelet(s). Amazing job!

Christine said...

Erin, that piece really is breathtakingly gorgeous. I adore that shade of blue myself, and you did a terrific job incorporating the "old" into the "new". Beautiful!

Stefanie said...

That's stunning. What a beautiful creation. regards Stefanie

SerendipitybyErin said...

Absolutely gorgeous! Thank you for sharing the story and how you incorporated my glass beads into your work. I often wonder where they end up and love it when my customers share their work with me. Erin aka Firelily :)

Beatnheart said...

really good work...you are an inspiration

Jenners said...

What a lovely story ... and a wonderful and meaningful gift for a bride.

Anonymous said...

This is soooo awesome! Love the colours, the title, the versatility of the design, the way you incorporated the rhinestones - it's just perfect all around! And so elegant...

I'm still pondering what to make for that challenge - bracelet or necklace? I like your solution to this problem, but I don't want to steal it *g* Maybe I'll just do both. I will definitely participate, I think I should find the time next week.

Pretty Things said...

That is SUCH a beautiful necklace!

Rose said...

So beautiful! I am just getting into incorporating old jewelry into new pieces. Love this! And such a beautiful wedding piece!

Off the Beadin' Path said...

Erin, that's outstanding!! Bringing in the pearls was just the right touch, but the style, with the 3 strands in the front, the mixed brass and gold, just proves again that you are superbly gifted and talented. It's an heirloom piece from heirlooms :)

Stefanie said...

What a beautiful idea, Erin. I just added my contribution. And I have to say I'm kind of nervous because it's the first time I take part in a challenge. Thanks for inspiring me.

regards from Germany



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