Sunday, February 5, 2012

Jewellery renovation: 'stained glass' look earrings

I have had a fresh surge of drive this year to get started on making jewellery.  One of the things I've found myself doing is looking at my own collection of jewellery with fresh eyes.  I think part of it is seeking to understand what it is about the design of a particular piece that draws me to it, or how might I do things differently if I designed that piece myself.
This particular pair of earrings have troubled me for some time.  I bought them for something like $5 from one of those big costume jewellery chain stores that have sprung up in Australian shopping centres (like Diva and Equip).  I loved them on sight.  I love green yet have very little of it in my wardrobe. Most of my jewellery is silver rather than gold toned.  They were curly and ornate and big.  They appeared to be perfect for me.

Yet every time I tried them on, I invariably discarded them in favour of other pieces.  I didn't want to get rid of them because they were oh so scrolly and green and gold and fabulous, but I just didn't wear them.  Eventually I concluded that they weren't for me and put them in a bag of things to ship out.  They languished in that bag for a few months, then in January I tried to sell them in a lot of earrings on eBay: no nibbles.

Then it struck me - I'm a jeweller.  I can do whatever I want with any piece of jewellery in my possession.  So why not see how I can improve them?

The first thing I noticed was that the paler green panels were not really my colour.  As I inspected them more closely, I discovered that the enamel or stained glass effect was really just plastic, which popped out of the frame fairly easily when pushed with a centre punch tool. So I proceeded to spend 15 minutes or so popping out little pieces of plastic, holding up the earrings to the light to check that the new design was balanced and pleasing to the eye.

When I was done, all that was left were some of the darker, more intense green pieces. The filigree of the frame was much more evident.  I concluded my renovations by bending the whole frame slightly from the centre outwards, giving them a more leaf-like structure. 

I wore them out the very next day.