Get Fresh: Freshen Up Your Favorite Jewelry Get Fresh: Freshen Up Your Favorite Jewelry
by Barbara van Look, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Every person who wears jewelry on a regular basis has a selection of old, broken or out-of-date pieces and components lingering around the house. They can be too full of memories to sell, or simply forgotten because they're unwearable as they are.

Time to Get Fresh

Of course customers can always sell their old jewelry. Precious gold and silver jewelry can be easily sold for scrap to most local jewelers, or resold as finished pieces to collectors. Styles from the 1980s and earlier are particularly popular in consignment shops and online reselling sites.

But what if your customer isn't ready to part with a favorite contemporary design that's just a few seasons out of date or a family piece that desperately needs updating?

Here are some options:
  • Clean it
    Sometimes, all it takes is a good cleaning to make a piece of jewelry look fresh and new. Rhinestones and faceted stones in open-backed settings can start to look flat and dim when dust, skin oils and other grunge accumulate behind them. Even with beads, translucent and transparent materials are especially vulnerable to the aging effects of grime.

    Check your jewelry-cleaning liquids and polishing cloths to see if they're appropriate to the material being cleaned--you don't want to damage your piece. Be gentle and take it slowly. And, of course, if you're uncertain of what to do, take your piece to a professional jeweler for personalized recommendations for particular pieces.

  • Fix it
    Unwearable jewelry is unhappy jewelry. Customers don't wear broken pieces, whether yours or family heirlooms. Whether you replace a clasp or repair a pendant bail, fixing broken jewelry gives it new life.

  • Convert it
    Turn a single earring drop into a dainty necklace. Use a brooch converter to turn a pin into a pendant. Change post-style earrings into clip-ons with earclip converters. Pin a brooch to the center of a wide ribbon to create a choker necklace.
  • Brooch Converters

    Use a brooch converter to turn a pin into a pendant.

  • Add to it
    Add a pendant or drop to strung beaded designs using a lobster claw clasp, bead strand hanger and other specialty clasps. Use extender chains on hoop or post earrings to create interchangeable dangles and drops.

  • Update it
    Replace set stones, cabochons or rhinestones with identical stones--except they're in bright modern colors. Fill gaps, openwork or settings with colorful jewelry art supplies such as Friendly Plastic®, Vitrium® clay or Apoxie® Sculpt. Cover modern shapes with colorful Duck Tape®.
  • Repurpose it
    Attach a variety of pieces to multi-strand clasps for a whole new look: finished chains with strung bead strands, with glass pearls and attached links. Easy-to-use options include D-ring clasps, slide lock clasps and clasps with end caps.

  • Rethink it
    Turn old costume jewelry new again by pulling off all embellishment and spray painting it with metallic color. Leave it bright and glossy or antique it and distress it for a popular vintage look using Gilders Paste®. Use glass paint to add spots of color to glass and crystal components. Wear a necklace that has a dramatic clasp backwards, with the clasp in the front--add a pendant or drop for an extra touch.
  • Get Fresh: Freshen Up Your Favorite Jewelry

  • Remake it
    And, of course, there's the oldest option of all: tear it apart and remake it into something completely new. Be sure to talk to your customer about their preferences in color, design or components they wish to especially keep.
Comfort your customers with the knowledge that they don't have to part with their old jewelry in order to have new jewelry. You can remake, repurpose and rethink their old jewelry, turning trash into a treasure for years to come.

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