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Recycle and reuse - make beautiful jewellery from lost and broken things!

Can you really design your new jewellery collection just by taking a walk on the beach? Can your next feature jewellery pendant be made from those old keys from the cupboard you’ve given away? And that broken watch you were about to toss in the bin - can that really form the beginnings of a gorgeous steampunk metal necklace?

The answer is YES! Stop right now - don’t throw out that ‘junk’. Because it isn’t really junk, just the beginning of a wonderful creative adventure.

You have the elements of some truly unique jewellery right in front of you without realising it. Don’t believe me? Here’s how you can completely original jewellery from broken ‘junk’ and beach debris that other people wouldn’t look twice at. But they will look twice at your jewellery, and say, “Wow, what a great idea!”

The picture above shows some pieces I’ve put together just using shells Ive found on the beach, the insides of broken watches, some useless old keys and scraps of ribbon and chain I’ve had lying around from other broken pieces.

The first rule is - don’t throw things like watches and mechanical bits and pieces away before breaking them apart and seeing all the gorgeous like metal cogs and wheels that tumble out. Thread them on that old broken chain you’ve had lying around for ages, or a couple of earring hooks from earrings you never wear any more. Voila! You have created a steampunk jewellery masterpiece. The little bits of metal come in copper, gold, and silver and look just gorgeous threaded through a chain or hanging from some old ear hooks!

If you find a gorgeous feather or two (beautiful black and white magpie feathers are everywhere), just twine and glue some ribbon around the end and you have the ultimate festival boho headers. Or simply wear a beautiful feather on your ribbon around your neck as a choker. So don’t throw out any ribbons wrapped around your presents or packages you receive. They can all be recycled as jewellery. I have dozens on bits of ribbon, all long enough to wrap around my neck, in every colour, material and colour. It’s amazing how many ribbons you’ll be able to collect in a year.

Rule 2 - keep your eyes open when you go walking. Beautiful shells, feathers, cute little acorns, all manner of lost treasures can be found for free under your feet. Glue a gorgeous shell on a piece of black velvet ribbon and you have a unique choker. Or use the holes in the shells to thread through a chain or earring hooks.

Rule 3 - never toss away a useless old key! Key pendants are very fashionable - and expensive! I keep all my old keys, never knowing when I’ll want to create a pendant on a pair of earrings, if I have matching keys. Old keys are actually very beautiful - remember when you toss out that old broken trinket box - keep its key and you’ll soon be wearing it.

These are just a few jewellery ideas using pieces that could have ended up in the bin. But the possibilities are endless. Just scrutinise things that other people might call junk, and imagine it strung on bits of ribbon, chain, leather or any other material you have to hand. You’ll be surprised what works as jewellery. Nature is an endless source of free material - but mechanical bits and pieces are wonderful too. Those tiny old coins at the bottom of you cupboard draws? I don’t know where mine came from, but they look great glued onto a thick black velvet ribbon and worn as a choker. Got some spare paper clips - get a pair of pliers and twist them into organic shapes and hang them from eye hooks you probably have from broken earrings. You’ve just created modernist, minimalist jewellery - the sort of designer stuff that hangs in designer galleries.

When it comes to making jewellery, nothing limits you except your imagination. You don’t need a budget - just a pair of good eyes! Go for it! Who knows - you might just start the next new jewellery trend.

Article provided by Her Lovely Bones