Friday, March 18, 2011

Old Beads, New Necklace

Do you have old, broken costume-jewelry necklaces kicking around in the back of your jewelry box? Stuff that you can't bear to throw away but you can't wear because it needs repair? Or maybe you have pieces that are intact but out of date and in need of a revamp?

I certainly do.

Recently, in the spirit of spring cleaning, I pulled some of my old beaded jewelry out. I found somebody to help me breathe new life into the pieces. And now they are better than ever.

Here's the first one (the second is still in the shop, so I'll show you photos of it a bit later):

This was my mom's necklace. It dates back to the 1950s. It's a triple strand of big, chunky beads graduating to smaller ones at the back of the neck.

When I was little, I was entranced by these beads. They looked like candy to me: big gumballs or jawbreakers, perhaps.

They were seductively tactile. I couldn't keep my hands--or my teeth--off them. I wanted to eat them!

Luckily, my mom understood. She used to let me put the beads between my teeth and chomp on them, lightly. She never worried they would get teeth marks 0r--worse yet--end up down my throat. (Thank you, Mommy, for being so understanding!)

Over the years, the necklace showed its age. It lost its clasp. It lost some of its little gold beads. The string or floss or whatever that held it all together began to fray. And so the necklace sat unused for decades, in a box I rarely opened.

But then last year the fashion industry proclaimed that Chunky Statement Necklaces were "in." I don't pay much attention to trends that sweep like silly breezes through the fashion world every 15 minutes. But the Statement Necklace movement has endured.

So, I dragged out the carcass of the necklace and took it to a friend of mine who is a talented "beader." She replaced the missing gold beads, rewired the entire necklace, and fitted it with a new clasp.

The necklace is as good as new! And, for being more than 50 years old, it's surprising modern looking.

I love wearing something unlike anything you can find in a store now. And I love wearing a reminder of my mother's love for me.

If you have old beads needing a little TLC, find yourself a local bead shop and ask them for help. Many shop employees are talented beaders, and so are many of their customers.

Almost every city and town, no matter how small, has a bead shop. If you live far out in the country, look online for places that can repair your stuff if you send it to them.

And if you live in the Los Angeles area, I recommend my friend, Amy, whose business is called "You're Putting Me On."

If you're close to Moro Bay, California, I recommend "Beads by the Bay."

So drag those broken necklaces out of your closet, and breathe some new life into them.

You'll be glad you did.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice! Mom would be pleased. xoxo. Luckily, there is a bead shop in Los Gatos (CA), but I never thought to go there; instead, I've been going to my jeweler....MUCH more costly, I'm sure.



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