What to Do With Old Jewelry

Last Updated on January 20, 2024 by Ellen Christian

Wondering what to do with old jewelry? Check out these tips for using old costume jewelry in ways you may not have thought of.

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old jewelry in a jewelry box

What to Do With Old Jewelry

Old, worn-out or simply out-of-fashion costume jewelry doesn’t have to end up in the trash. Many of us have trinkets tucked away in boxes, or broken pieces we just can’t bear to part with. Yet, with a little creativity, these once-loved adornments can find a second life.

Broken jewelry, in particular, can be upcycled into a wide variety of decorative or functional items. From picture frames and candle holders to clothing embellishments and keychains, the possibilities are endless. All those little gems, beads, and pendants can become components of something completely new and uniquely yours.

Upcycling, or creatively reusing materials that might otherwise be discarded, is not only a fun way to revitalize things you already have; it’s also eco-friendly. By reimagining your old costume jewelry, you’re not only creating something new for yourself or others to enjoy, but also reducing waste and contributing to a more sustainable world.

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Should I throw away old costume jewelry?

Absolutely not! Upcycle your old jewelry. In simple terms, ‘upcycle’ means to reuse your old items, transforming them into something more valuable or beautiful. Old jewelry pieces can become part of a stunning collage or can be used to add a touch of glamour to everyday items. So rather than tossing them away, consider how your old jewelry can be given a new lease of life. You’re not just saving money but also contributing positively to the environment by reducing waste.

jeweled bookmark on a book

What can I do with unwanted jewelry?

One fabulous way to repurpose your vintage jewelry is by making bookmarks. Have a long chain necklace that isn’t in style anymore? Attach a pendant at one end and a large bead or charm at the other end.

Now, you have a fashionable bookmark. These can be great personalized gifts, full of character and charm.

Moreover, old brooches and pins can be given a new lease of life as fridge magnets. Simply remove the pin at the back and glue on a magnet. Not only will they add a touch of sparkle to your kitchen, but they’re also practical. You can use them to stick reminders, recipes, or photos to your fridge.

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flea market

Is there a market for old costume jewelry?

The market for vintage costume jewelry can indeed be vibrant, but it largely depends on the specific pieces in question. Certain items might fetch a good price, particularly if they bear the name of a renowned designer or if they have historical significance in the vintage fashion marketplace.

When evaluating old jewelry, it can be beneficial to check for a designer name or brand stamp, usually found on the back of the piece or on the clasp of a necklace or bracelet. Fashion jewelry created by well-known designers or famous brands can be highly sought after by collectors and fashion enthusiasts alike.

The age of the jewelry can also influence its value. Vintage pieces, especially those from particular eras, like the Art Deco period, can be quite valuable. To determine the age of a piece, look for clues in the style, the type of material used, and the construction methods.

In conclusion, don’t be too quick to discard old jewelry. There could be hidden gems in your collection that are worth more than just sentimental value. By carefully identifying the designer, age, and condition of your pieces, you could potentially uncover a treasure trove right in your jewelry box.

How to organize your jewelry to prevent tangles

What is the best way to get rid of old jewelry?

The best way to get rid of old jewelry largely depends on your personal preferences and the potential value of the pieces. One of the most popular methods is selling on online marketplaces like eBay. This platform allows you to reach a global audience, increasing the chances of finding an interested buyer. However, it’s crucial to provide detailed descriptions and clear pictures to attract potential buyers.

Alternatively, as mentioned before, upcycling old jewelry in crafts can be a fun and rewarding activity. You can create stunning decorative items, fashion accessories, or even artworks. It’s an excellent way to express your creativity and add a personal touch to your home or wardrobe.

Donation is another noble option. Many charities accept old jewelry, which they sell to raise funds for their cause. So your old trinkets could benefit someone in need.

Remember, every piece of jewelry, no matter how old or broken, can be given new life or bring joy to someone else. So think twice before discarding those old baubles.

Donate it

Donating your old jewelry can have a meaningful impact, especially when you support organizations like Dress for Success. This international non-profit organization empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and development tools.

Your old jewelry could add the final touch to an outfit for a job interview or a new role, helping a woman feel confident and professional. So, rather than letting your old trinkets collect dust, donate them to Dress for Success and make a difference.

jewelry box with jewelry in it

What to do with fine jewelry

When dealing with fine jewelry, it’s always a good idea to have it appraised before deciding what to do with it. Diamond jewelry or real gold or silver can fetch good money at your local jewelry store.

An appraisal gives you an accurate estimate of your jewelry’s value, which can be quite helpful if you’re considering selling it.

After the appraisal, you may choose to sell it at a jewelry store. Many jewelry stores buy pre-owned fine jewelry and offer fair prices, especially if your items are of high quality or have significant historical value. Thus, getting your fine jewelry appraised and selling it at a reputable jewelry store can ensure that you get the best possible return for your precious keepsakes.

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woman wearing an upcycled hair accessory

How to reuse old vintage costume jewelry

There are many ways you can incorporate vintage jewelry in your craft projects. Old or unwanted jewelry can be taken apart and glued to many items.

Jeweled Picture Frames: Add a touch of vintage charm to plain picture frames by adorning them with old earrings or brooches.

Decorative Candles: Glue your old jewelry onto candles to create a unique and glamorous home decor item.

Charming Keychains: Attach an old pendant or charm to a keyring to create a personalized keychain.

Stylish Hair Accessories: Old brooches or earrings can be attached to hair clips or bands to create unique hair accessories.

Elegant Napkin Rings: String beads from an old necklace onto some wire and twist into ring shapes for unique, homemade napkin rings.

Wine Glass Charms: Use hoop earrings or small bracelets as wine glass charms for your next dinner party.

Decorative Light Switch Plates: Add a touch of glamour to your rooms by attaching costume jewelry to light switch plates.

Jewelry-Inspired Bookmarks: Use chains from old necklaces as the base for ornate bookmarks, adding charms or beads for decoration. You can take apart broken charm bracelets.

Garden Decorations: Brighten up your garden by hanging old, colorful jewelry pieces from trees or incorporating them into a wind chime.

Handbag Embellishments: Add bling to a plain handbag by attaching vintage brooches or sparkly beads.

woman making crafts out of old jewelry

How to make repurposed vintage jewelry magnets

Repurposed vintage jewelry magnets are very easy to make from broken jewelry.

Gather Your Materials: Begin by finding your vintage jewelry pieces. Brooches, earrings, or any flat-backed pieces work best. You’ll also need strong adhesive glue and small magnets.

Remove the Backs: If your vintage costume jewelry has pins or clips on the back, use a pair of pliers to remove these.

Apply the Glue: Next, apply a small amount of strong adhesive glue to one side of the magnet. It’s important to use a glue that’s suitable for both metal and magnet.

Attach the Magnet: Carefully place the magnet onto the back of your jewelry piece. Ensure it’s in the center for balance.

Let it Dry: Allow the glue to dry completely. This could take a few hours, or even overnight, so be patient.

Test Your Magnet: Once dry, test your new magnet on a metallic surface. If the magnet stays in place, it’s ready to use.

Repeat: Repeat these steps for all your old jewelry pieces. Soon, you’ll have a collection of unique, vintage magnets to brighten up your fridge or notice board!

woman wearing a vintage brooch cocktail ring

Make a vintage brooch cocktail ring

Search through your jewelry box or jewelry collection for old beaded jewelry or cheap jewelry that just isn’t in style any more. If you don’t want to donate jewelry, you can use it in many ways.

Find Your Brooch and Ring Base: Pick a vintage brooch you love and a ring base. The brooch should have a flat back and the ring base should be adjustable.

Remove Pin from Brooch: If there’s a pin on the back of the brooch, remove it carefully using pliers.

Apply Glue: Using strong adhesive, apply a small amount of glue to the ring base.

Attach Brooch: Press the brooch onto the glue and hold it in place for a few seconds to make sure it sticks.

Let it Dry: Leave the ring to dry. This can take a few hours, so be patient.

Check Stability: Once it’s dry, make sure the brooch is securely attached. If it wobbles, apply more glue and let it dry again.

Wear Your Ring: Now your vintage brooch cocktail ring is ready to wear! Show it off at your next gathering or special event.

Wondering what to do with old jewelry? Check out these tips for using old costume jewelry in ways you may not have thought of.

Jeweled Christmas tree pictures

Creating a jeweled Christmas tree picture is a great way to repurpose old jewelry and create a festive piece of art. Here is a simple step by step guide:

Gather Materials: You will need a piece of card stock or canvas, a pencil, glue, and an assortment of old jewelry.

Draw a Tree: With your pencil, lightly sketch the outline of a Christmas tree on your card stock or canvas.

Arrange Jewelry: Begin arranging your old jewelry pieces onto the sketched tree. You can use different colors and sizes to create a unique design. Try to fill the entire tree with jewelry.

Glue in Place: Once you’re happy with your design, glue each piece of jewelry onto the card stock or canvas. Be sure to let the glue dry for the time recommended on the bottle.

Add Details: If you wish, you can add additional details such as a star at the top made from a brooch or earrings, or a tree trunk made from a bracelet.

Let it Dry: Allow your jeweled Christmas tree picture to dry overnight. Once it’s fully dry, it’s ready to display or gift.

This project is a great way to use up old jewelry and create a festive decoration or gift. Plus, each tree will be unique depending on the jewelry used.

upcycled picture frame and cancle

Small DIY projects

You can use your costume jewelry to make DIY jeweled bobby pins, DIY beaded sandals or even small DIY jeweled frames for photos. You don’t have to use vintage jewelry. If you have cheap jewelry items that are broken or themed jewelry you won’t wear any more, you can use that.

Look for the base of your vintage jewelry at a thrift store. Then, use your old or broken jewelry to decorate it. Just imagine how pretty your old vintage jewelry would look on a bedazzled planter or picture frame.

Learn how to use old perfume bottles next.

Where to find jewelry for craft projects

There are several places where you can find vintage or old jewelry for your craft projects. A pawn shop is one such place where you might stumble upon a unique, vintage piece at a bargain price. Thrift stores are another treasure trove for vintage jewelry. Often, these stores have a jewelry section where you can find a variety of pieces, from necklaces and bracelets to brooches and earrings.

Flea markets are also worth exploring. These open-air markets often have vendors selling second-hand items, including jewelry. The key to finding the right pieces for your crafts is to keep an open mind and eye for potential. Even the simplest pieces can be transformed into something beautiful with a little creativity.

shadow box made with broken jewelry

Display in a shadow box

A shadow box is an enclosed, glass-fronted picture frame that can hold and display items that have depth or dimension. This artistic method of preserving and showcasing jewelry allows you to transform your vintage pieces into visually appealing wall art.

By arranging your vintage jewelry in an attractive design, you can create a unique, personalized display that not only preserves the jewelry but also makes a decorative statement. Plus, it’s a great conversation starter for when you have guests over. Here’s how you can create your own shadow box display:

Select a Shadow Box: Shadow boxes come in a variety of sizes and depths. Choose one that best suits the amount and size of jewelry you wish to display.

Plan Your Layout: Before you start gluing, plan out your layout in the shadow box. You could arrange by color, size, type of jewelry, or create a specific shape or pattern.

Secure Your Jewelry: Once you’re happy with your layout, use a hot glue gun or a strong adhesive to secure each piece of jewelry in its place.

Let it Dry: Allow the glue to dry completely before hanging your shadow box.

Display Your Shadow Box: Find a spot in your home where your shadow box can be seen and appreciated. It’s ready to be hung and admired!

Remember, a shadow box is versatile and can be easily updated. If you find more vintage pieces to add to your collection, simply open your box and rearrange.

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In simple words, the world of vintage jewelry offers endless opportunities to preserve, repurpose, and cherish these timeless pieces. Upcycling allows you to breathe new life into old and forgotten items, transforming them into beautiful art objects or stylish accessories.

If you find pieces that are not to your taste or suit your projects, consider donating them. Many organizations would be grateful for such donations, and these pieces might find a new home where they can be loved and appreciated. If you have valuable antique or vintage jewelry, selling them could also be a profitable option.

Finally, displaying your vintage jewelry, whether in shadow boxes or other creative ways, not only adds a touch of elegance and history to your decor but also keeps your precious pieces safe and appreciated.

6 thoughts on “What to Do With Old Jewelry”

  1. This is such great information. I have a bunch of my mom’s old jewelry so I’m making it into bookmarks to hand out at Christmas to my siblings and the grandchildren. Everyone will have a lovely piece with meaning and memories.

  2. I found this article while just scrolling aimlessly on pinterest while waiting for my eldest son to get out of swim training and I am so happy I did.
    I have some old costume jewellery of my Mothers that is quite broken and I am really not a big jewellery wearer so getting it repaired seemed a bit pointless but I also didn’t want to part with them, so it was too hard to donate them.
    Now I have 12 beautiful and unique napkin rings, just in time for the holidays. They make me smile just looking at them and I know that my guests will appreciate how special they are.


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