Thursday, February 21, 2013

To Re-purpose Old Jewelry, Or Not

I often say I don't want to buy anything, but there IS one thing I desire: a charm bracelet. I have been thinking about it for a while and decided to begin an "investigation."

I have a 14K gold charm bracelet with one charm. It dates back to the 1970s and I never wear it.
My 14K Gold charm bracelet with one charm, a filligree heart with one tiny pearl and two Alexandrites. Both are birthstones for June, the month in which I was born. June actually has three traditional birthstones, the two mentioned plus moonstone.

My thoughts have been on a buying a sterling silver charm bracelet, as my jewelry taste has changed from gold to silver.

I took the bracelet to a jewelry store today to discuss the possibility of trading it for a silver one. 

The jeweler assessed my bracelet and offered to purchase it if I was interested; he also would give me store credit (double the amount he would pay to buy it) if I preferred.

The price of gold and silver is not comparable. Even if I decided to keep and add to the gold bracelet, the cost of each charm is prohibitive -- at least $250 (and up) for each charm. As I want a full charm bracelet, I do not wish to put that much money into a completed gold bracelet.

Another option is to have the bracelet Rhodium plated, a process whereby, in this case, gold would be electroplated in rhodium to give it a silver color. The process doesn't last forever, but with care can last for years. This is a relatively inexpensive process.

Monet sterling silver bracelet image found on line. I found nothing that is as ornate as my gold bracelet. I suppose the styles have changed a great deal since the 1970s, understandable since the costs of the metals are so much higher now.
I looked at the sterling silver bracelets available in the store and didn't see any that struck my fancy. Not even ones I was shown in the catalog that could be ordered appealed to me.

Many silver charms are available, of course. Sterling charms are much less expensive than gold ones. They start at aound $50 to $100 depending on size and intricacy of design.

Potential additions to my gold charm bracelet (clockwise from 6 o'clock):
Shamrock pin with diamond
My mother's high school class ring
My mother's dinner ring from the 1940s
Opal  pendant
Topaz  charm for Omega chain
Sapphire charm for Omega Chair
Filigree heart pendant (lying on top are blue topaz earrings which may be too small to be used with the other items on the bracelet)
Pearl charm for Omega chain
Amesyth pendant

In the middle is a locket pendant that opens

I left the store having told the jeweler I would think about it and decide what I wanted to do. All of a sudden, on the way home, I came up with what I think is a brilliant idea. Keep the gold bracelet and add to it some of the jewelry pieces (pendants, pins, ) I no longer wear. Viola, I would have a gold charm bracelet filled up and it would cost me nothing except the price of having the pieces soldered to the bracelet.

I placed the pieces around the bracelet to get some idea of how it might look. I rather like it! The jeweler would know how to balance the look. I think the opal pendant and blue topaz earrings may be too small to work with the other pieces.

If I should decide to take the jeweler's offer of store credit for the gold bracelet, the amount he allows would easily buy a sterling silver one and as many charms as I could fit in. And there would still be a credit left for further purchases. 

But I am inclined to keep the gold bracelet, since it is so valuable. I think I would wear it if it held these special charms I already own.

I could take my time to find the perfect sterling bracelet and gradually add charms that don't cost "an arm and a leg."

What do you think of my "potential" new gold charm bracelet? Also, since the rest of my jewelry is sterling silver, how would it look to add a gold piece into the mix?

In this particular case, I think two bracelets are better than one!


  1. Hello Sanda

    I love your gold bracelet and in particular when you use the charms and pieces you already possess.
    Have you considered looking on ebay for a 2nd hand silve charm bracelet?


    1. I have never bought or sold on ebay. I have thought about getting familiar with the site as I know people who have had great success there. Something to consider in my search for a silver bracelet. Thanks!

  2. Hello Sanda,

    I beautiful bracelet and a wonderful idea for all of your charms and pieces.

    Have a beautiful weekend, Elizabeth

    1. I am quite taken with the idea of adding my existing pieces to the bracelet. Thanks for stopping by, Elizabeth, and hoping you'll keep safe during yet another weekend of snow.

  3. Dear Sanda, your gold bracelet is beautiful, and with the addition of your other pieces is very special indeed. It will receive many compliments. I like the idea very much, keep the gold with additions, and start afresh with a silver one. That way you have flexibility with matching to outfits. I love your creativity!

    1. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. In this case, trying to think of ways to use what I have without spending a great deal of money on an additional piece of jewelry. The bracelet will indeed be an "original" when I add my pieces.

  4. Since all your other jewelry is silver, I´d have the gold bracelet Rhodium plated. The bracelet is beautiful, and more so in kind of " white gold ".
    I have had my wristwatch ( white gold ) plated once, and it was like new after the treatment.
    Next, I´d buy white gold charms, within the months, years and have them added to the bracelet.
    I´d stick to only one bracelet with charms.

    1. Buying white gold charms would be so expensive; nicer, without a doubt, than sterling silver. My thinking on having two bracelets is that one (gold) would be the expensive one with sentimental mementos and the the silver one my "whimsical" bracelet that will reflect the current me.

      I do appreciate your input. I knew you'd have great ideas since you are our "jewelry queen." (That's a compliment; your tastes are exquisite!)

    2. Just a small addition: Yellow gold is " out ", it´s got to be red or white gold these days.
      Having thought about this bracelet thing a bit more, I like your original one as such, or just with that one heart.
      A bracelet with charms is wonderful, provided you start gathering it an early age, one charm having it´s own, unique history.

  5. your bracelet is just amazing. Such a finely crafted piece that can't be found today and whatever the jeweller offerd know that it's worth even more. I'm all for adding the pieces you already own to it and maybe looking on Ebay or he local antique stores to find inexpensive charms to add to it? With a bit of luck you can stumble upon gold charms that cost very little.

    1. The jeweler told me if he sold such a bracelet in his store today the price would be $4,000. Whoa! Naturally, he didn't offer me that much.

      I believe the gold pieces I have will be more than enough to fill it, since the additions are quite large. But I may very well check ebay as you and Helen suggested---or antique shops are another idea.

  6. My thoughts exactly coffeeaddict,exquiste bracelet and you already have a 'ready made'collection of charms with sweet memories to start off your collection.....maybe it will make present buying easier for your husband!! Ida

    1. I'll be sure to pass the word to family members that I'm trying to fill a silver bracelet; I could even present them with lists for specific charms I want. lol!

  7. i love your "new" gold bracelet! because the charms are pieces you already own, the bracelet would have that fond-memory personal touch.

    and people mix gold and silver these days, don't they? i do, anyway, so i wouldn't hesitate to wear such a treasure no matter what other jewelry i was also wearing.

    1. I think in this day we can wear/mix and match anything we choose. Who knows, by doing so we start a new trend or fad. The pieces are all special and I look forward to displaying/wearing them often on the bracelet.

  8. I vote for keeping the gold bracelet, keeping it gold and adding pieces you already have. You might want to start a sterling one with "new" memories. I have a sterling charm bracelet loaded with charms. Everything from early days of marriage and when my daughters were small. Haven't added to it in years but there isn't much room anyway. I rarely wear it and am considering having it made into two bracelets, one for each daughter.


    1. I think I have decided just that. And your new memory bracelet is just what I have in mind. How very special that you're taking your bracelet and having it made into bracelets for each of your daughters. Something they will truly cherish.

  9. Your bracelet looks good with all those extra bits laid out around it, I must admit that I did exactly what you are contemplating - and it just didn't work. It should have, but some of the pieces were heavier than the others, the spot where they attached to the chain wasn't "fluid" enough, and other unspecific nuisances made it uncomfortable to wear. And it was quite expensive to gold solder all the pieces to the chain. (Plus I was missing the necklaces and rings now.) Maybe my extremely small wrist was part of the problem. Although, after my husband's mother died, I ended up with both hers and her mother's charm bracelets, which are very nice to wear on my petite wrist, Not a "no" vote, but this did just remind of that very expensive mistake.
    For nice silver charms at the best prices, you should check the TV shopping sites - QVC or HSN (both .com's)

  10. I vote to add to that beautiful bracelet you already have. It is so pretty and heavy it would look good with anything.

  11. That is a great idea, especially if your bracelet have lost several chains but the charms are still good. At least you can still keep the memento for a longer period of time! Anyway, you did a fantastic job on it. You made your gold bracelet look brand new. Cheers!

    Sheila Olson @ Spath Jewelers

  12. I love this blog!! The flash up the top is awesome!!
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