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Jewellery Alteration

In a recent effort to clear some space and aspire to a bit of simplicity, it was time to dig out the wardrobes and get rid of stuff. It felt great to shed all the unnecessary and gave me a newfound feeling of control.

However when it came to the jewellery boxes, that’s where I pumped the brakes. I was completely unable to part with anything - including things I know I won’t wear, which is a complete shame. My attention was particularly focused on a bracelet I was gifted a few years ago.

The brand of this bracelet shall remain nameless as never too sure what’s allowed or not on cyberspace these days (and if you truly want to know, drop us a message). What I can tell you is that it is one of my favourite jewellery brands from Paris and was created in 1980. That’s it for the clues!

This bracelet was gifted to me a few years ago and has never really been worn. Don’t get me wrong, I think the focal leopard piece is absolutely beautiful. The problem is: I’m not always the biggest fan of a bracelet, especially if I can’t put it on myself easily. The focal connector piece is unfortunately too heavy for the fine chain, with its delicate spring ring clasp and tends to fall underneath. And really all I want is to wear this fierce leopard piece around my neck where everybody can see it!

This beauty has been sitting in a box for long enough and I felt it was time for some action and go on with a little jewellery alteration! So I started playing with the bracelet around my neck, trying to see how it could sit and what sort of length could work. Because the leopard connector has 2 loops at the back, the first obvious choice was to potentially turn it into a choker. But I wasn’t convinced on how well it would sit and on how comfortable it would be.

What I truly wanted was for the leopard to sit on my chest, visible for everyone to gag on it! As mentioned further up, the leopard is actually a connector and I decided to pair it with something else, to help pull its weight down and make it face forward at all times. This something else had to be a crystal obviously. And it didn’t take me long to know which one.

I chose this large faceted teardrop red Jasper bead.

Quick side note here - I’ve had this bead for nearly 9 years… I got it from the very first bead/jewellery making shop I ever visited in Paris: Matière Première, on rue Sévigné. I wanted to give this shop a little shout-out since it allowed me to start making my very first jewellery pieces - slowly learning my way through the different findings and types of beads. I used to go every 2 - 3 days when I was a student. Anyway, if you ever pass by Paris, give them a visit - it’s a real treat!

Eventually it was time to crack on and start dismantling the bracelet strategically. The aim was to preserve its integrity as much as possible.

First, I isolated the focal leopard piece and cut the double pigtail wires each side. I then used the black seed bead from one of those wires as a stopper when creating the loop for the red jasper bead pendant.

In order to reassemble everything together, I used a jumpring (4mm), to which I connected both bits of chain from the bracelet, the leopard and the red jasper bead pendant. I ended up using only one of the loops at the back of the leopard, to ensure it was sitting nicely on top of the large red jasper pendant and wouldn’t flip (as shown on the below left image). It was a bit of a tricky part since a lot of different elements are attached to one single jumpring here. But this is how I managed to have the “hanging” result I wanted.

Finally, in order to finish turning this piece into a necklace, I found 4 same-sized bits of chain, taken from a discontinued sample. I also added one Garnet bead each side - for the colour, for the bling and for the length to be just right! Every part of the original bracelet was kept, including the spring ring clasp, extension chain at the back and tag.

At the end of the day, I’m over the moon with the final necklace. It looks absolutely lush in my eyes! The decision was even made to send it to gold plating, in the name of Bling-Bling and Opulence!

This jewellery alteration was a great exercise to rethink, reuse and treat myself to something that felt brand new, utilising stuff I already had. It inspires me to repeat the experience and play with some of my junk jewellery, to turn it into something new and special.

By Juliette


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