Do you have a ton of old jewelry that you don’t really use or wear anymore? Are you unsure of what to do with all of this extra, currently unused jewelry? Perhaps you have obtained a bunch of vintage jewelry from your family, thrift shop or swap meet that aren’t exactly up to your taste or style? Well, there is no need to worry! You won’t have to let it sit unused or sell it for cheap just to recoup some value for some beautiful jewelry that doesn’t quite fit your personal style or taste. There are numerous ways to breathe new life into vintage jewelry items so that they can start matching your particular needs and desires. Let’s show you a few ways to restore and repurpose your old vintage jewelry here! Luckily for you, you won’t need to own a Cuban jewelry store or jewelry repair shop to do a lot of this repurposing yourself.
Try turning old sets of silverware into cupboard handles
Who said that all jewelry needs to be worn? Sometimes we have fine dining items that we don’t want to damage by using but also are too sentimental and beautiful to sell or never use. Luckily, with the use of a rubber mallet and drill, you won’t need a jewelry repair shop to fix this issue for you. You can flatten the ends of a vintage spoon or fork, drill some holes into the ends and repurpose your fine silverware into beautiful, unique handles for your cupboards and cabinets. You can also…
Make unique pendants from old keys and sets of silverware
Another wonderful way to restore fine dining silverware is by cutting them to an appropriate pendant size with a jewelry saw and then drilling holes in the ends so that necklaces and chains can be attached to them. You can make fantastic, one of a kind jewelry by adorning these pendants with shiny beads and semi-precious stones.
In a similar fashion, you can attach beads or stones to old house keys to make pendants as well.
Beautiful bookmarks with your earrings
You can whip up a few uncannily unique bookmarks by attaching old, unused earrings to strips of velvet. Use the velvet strip as the actual bookmark and allow the earring to hang on the outside of the book gorgeously.
Transform old costume jewelry, buttons and hairpins into unique hair decorations
Do you have a lot of single buttons or costume jewelry lying around? Well, now they can be used to hold your hair down in style! All you have to do is get a bobby pin (or a ponytail holder) and glue the buttons or costume jewelry onto it. These extremely cost-effective hair decorations will be cheaper and more beautiful than any pre-made decorations you can buy yourself. You won’t need to pay a jewelry repair service to do it for you either.
Transform vintage plates and china into beautiful wall decorations
Many of us have china and vintage plates that we are afraid to damage by consistently using and eating off of. So why don’t we show off their beauty in another way? Vintage plates and china can be easily shown off when displayed against the wall, attached simply to a wall hook or plate hanger. This can be a perfect idea if you have a lot of wall space to cover.
Hopefully, these ideas help make it a lot easier to start bringing your vintage pieces and jewelry out of storage and back into use. Amazingly, you can easily work on these ideas yourself without the use of a jewelry repair service. However, if you still need more help with your jewelry game, please stop by our Cuban jewelry shop Santayana. It would be our pleasure to help you find new uses for your old jewelry!
Here are just a few reasons why many people incorporate them into their special items of jewelry.
1. Romantic and Symbolic – Diamonds are a symbol of purity and also of the eternal love that a man might have for a woman, and diamonds are the obvious choice for engagement and wedding rings for obvious reasons. It might be a single stone or a cluster, and whatever the design, diamonds add a touch of class to any item of jewelry.
Strictly speaking, wholesale diamond jewelers are out of reach for the general public, but this supplier prefers to attract customers by offering wholesale prices in a virtual and real-time environment.
2. Long-Term Investment – Any jewelry that is made with real diamonds will have a specific value, and this will always appreciate, especially over time. Some colored diamonds are very rare and you can expect the value to be proportionate. Diamonds are judged by the Four Cs, namely, the cut, the color, the clarity, and of course, the karat. The cut is perhaps the most important, as this determines the stone’s sparkle, and the karat is all about weight, not size.
A Favourite with all Women – Whatever else, women all love diamonds, and this means it is the obvious choice, especially for an engagement or wedding ring. One fear is that your partner will not fall in love with the item. And basically, if it is adorned with diamonds, you can be sure she will love you for it. Diamonds have long held a fascination, and there is an interesting article online that examines the various reasons why we are so attached to these hardy little creations of nature.
If you really want to impress the love of your life, a diamond ring is perhaps the safest bet, and they can be incorporated into any jewelry item, and with certification, the stones are also a solid investment that will stand the test of time. Online solutions make diamond purchasing very easy, and you can browse to your heart’s content from the comfort of your own living room.
Alice Caviness Crystal Necklace & Bracelet Set
Crystal necklaces were like strands of pearls, everyone had one in the 1950s. Being so versatile, they are popular with fashionable ladies today as well.
Bogoff Rhodium Plated Rhinestone Bracelet
Bogoff bracelets are harder to find than other pieces by this manufacturer.
Coro October Angel Duette Clips/Pin
From a series of angel birthstone Duettes and coordinating bracelets made by Coro in 1956.
Eisenberg Originals Fur or Pin Clip
This pot metal piece fastens to a garment with a double-pronged clip known as a fur clip to collectors, but found in patents noted as a pin clip.
Hollycraft 1958 Brooch & Earring Set
Marked “Hollycraft Copr. 1958.” Large foiled cabachons are often referred to as “cat’s eye” stones by collectors.
Kramer White Necklace & Bracelet Set
White jewelry was popularized by Dior in the 1950s, and other designers and manufacturers followed suit.
Napier Vintage Wings Brooch and Earring Set
This Napier “boutique” jewelry set was made in very limited quantities and rarely comes on the market.
People have been wearing jewelry for centuries to enhance their overall look or to make a statement of status. While trends come and go, there are still some basic guidelines that are timeless. One of the most important things to remember is that you need to be aware of what is considered proper attire for each situation and choose your jewelry accordingly.
Fashionistas know that accessorizing with jewelry can take an outfit from boring to one that will get you noticed.
Just make sure that the attention you’re getting is positive.
I’ve heard some people claim that “less is more,” but isn’t always correct. There are some times when you want to sparkle and shine; the key is to know when it’s okay.
Some pieces of jewelry are perfectly acceptable to wear all the time. For married folks, one such item is the wedding band. If you like to keep track of time, and you prefer not to use your cell phone for that purpose, a wristwatch is always acceptable.
When you choose jewelry to wear to work, select pieces that aren’t distracting or noisy. You can still show your individuality, but don’t wear anything that might offend the higher-ups or clients.
Here are some dos and don’ts for office jewelry:
- In a conservative office, it’s a good idea to stick to stud earrings that complement or match your outfit.
- In a less conservative office, you can wear stud earrings or small hoops as long as they don’t sparkle too brightly or make noise when you move.
- In a more creative environment, larger earrings are acceptable, but it’s still a good idea to select those that aren’t noisy, or you’ll distract others.
- Don’t blind your coworkers with extra large rhinestones. Save the flash for after hours.
- Don’t wear noisy bracelets to any type of office. Stacking bangles or bracelets that clang against your desk when you’re at the keyboard can annoy the person at the next cubicle or station.
- When you’re not sure if you’re wearing too much jewelry to the office, go with the fewest pieces possible. A general rule of thumb is that it’s okay to wear a watch or bracelet, a ring, a pair of earrings, and a necklace.
- Anything more than that is probably too much for most work environments.
- Save your skulls and skeletons for after work.
Jewelry for a Formal Event
A formal event is the time to show how elegant you can be, and this is the time to wear your very best jewelry. Although it’s acceptable to sparkle all over, it’s best to choose one jewelry piece to emphasize your best feature. For example, if you’re wearing your hair in an updo, show off your high cheekbones and stunning jawline with some stunning crystal or diamond earrings.
Remember that jewelry is supposed to accessorize your outfit. Wearing too much of it, even to a formal event, distracts from the overall look.
Jewelry recommendations for a formal event:
- Pull out the pearls, diamonds, and other precious stones to wear to a formal event.
- Don’t overwhelm your appearance with too much jewelry.
- Don’t wear more than one oversized piece, or you’ll appear to be playing dress-up with your mother’s jewelry.
- Select one statement piece and downplay the rest of your jewelry.
When you’re going to a friend’s party or going out on a Friday night, almost anything goes. If you enjoy clanging bangles and blinding bling, this is the time to wear it. Don’t forget, though, that too much jewelry will steal the attention away from you, and the accessories will overshadow your sparkling personality.
Old Vs. New Jewelry Rules
Back in the day, there were so many etiquette rules regarding jewelry, it was intimidating. However, many of those old rules have faded and morphed into something we can easily learn and remember.
Here are some changes in jewelry etiquette:
- The old rule about mixing metals is passé. Now you can wear any combination of gold, silver, pewter, copper, and whatever other metals you like.
- Women were once told that they should never wear a ring on their left ring finger unless it was an engagement ring or wedding band. Now that rule is out the window, and you can wear rings on whatever fingers you want.
- Once upon a time, it wasn’t acceptable to mix real gemstones with faux stones, but now you can mix to your heart’s content.
- Matching sets were once all the rage, but in today’s world, you don’t need to be matchy-matchy. In fact, it’s better if you’re not.
The only statement your statement necklace is making is “Look at me! I’m cheap!”
1. It’s a little childish and you’re a grown-up.
Charm bracelets, animal pendants, and butterfly anything rarely look expensive. It doesn’t matter if they cost $20 or $2,000 — they’re childish and no one thinks of children as having expensive jewelry.
Stay away from cutesy shapes, especially in bright or pastel colors. That means no hearts and nothing that looks like a children’s toy or fantasy creature.
2. It’s really just some random beads on a piece of string.
Why spend good money on something that looks like you could have made it at home with some loose beads and a piece of string? Not to mention the fact that beaded necklaces are a very mature look, in general, and are really best avoided by twenty- and thirtysomethings.
Really, you should stay away from beads altogether, but if you absolutely must have them, less is definitely more. Stick to pieces that use beads only as accents, and prioritize small beads over large- or medium-size beads, which are more likely to age your look. Also, the use of pearls and semi-precious stones instead of glass and plastic will go a long way to making your beaded jewelry look more expensive.
And stay away from those little dangle earrings that are so popular at craft fairs and mall kiosks. A simple drop earring with clean lines looks much richer than a cluster of roundish beads held together with twisted bits of craft wire.
3. The enamel work is sloppy.
Good enamel should be smooth and even with crisp, clean edges where the enamel meets the metal.
4. The metal is too bright and shiny.
A lot of cheap jewelry is made with inexpensive alloys, or even plastic that’s just painted and coated to look like metal. Polished gold, silver, and bronze are shiny, but not that shiny.
Choose slightly darker metals over really light-colored, bright metals. A little richness and a slightly darker tone add weight to a piece, which makes it look more expensive.
That said, don’t think that fake distressing is fooling anyone either. The weird black junk that cheap brands smear on their jewelry to make it look antique usually just ends up making it look cheap.
5. It’s flimsy.
Heavier metals (and gem stones, for that matter) look and feel more expensive. That’s not to say that delicate, lightweight jewelry looks cheap, but if you’ve got a big pendant or statement necklace that’s flopping around like it’s made out of aluminum foil, then, yeah, that’s going to look cheap.
Jewelry should have a weight that is appropriate to its size and the material it is made of (or imitating). The weight of a piece affects the way it hangs and how it moves on your body, so when that movement seems out of sync with the look, it’s a dead giveaway that the jewelry is cheap. You also want your jewelry to at least look like it is made to last — that means clasps and closures are sturdy and secure, and the various parts are either soldered together or attached with hinges and screws, not just a bunch of flimsy metal jump rings and bits of string.
6. The gem stones are obviously fakes (and not even good ones).
Enough with the cheap imitations already! Red plastic doesn’t look like rubies. It looks like red plastic.
It you want the glitz without the cost, your best bet is to stick to clear crystals (aka dirty diamonds). And stay far away from those opaque gemstones, which look especially cheap and plasticky.
And if you really like the look of large stones, go for semi-precious or non-precious stones over those cheap plastic crystals. The fact is, a beautiful piece of quartz or polished granite looks a lot more sophisticated than a big fake crystal.
7. It’s turning your skin green.
Copper often turns skin green. Nickel and silver can also react with and stain your skin. Gold, on the other hand, rarely ever stains, unless it has been mixed with one of these other metals, which is usually done to make the gold stronger and — wait for it — cheaper! How much of these other metals it takes to cause a reaction in your skin depends on your unique body chemistry.
There are tricks that can help you avoid those dreaded green markings. Polishing silver pieces periodically will help keep them from marking you or your clothes. You can also use clear nail polish on the parts of the jewelry that touch your skin to act as a barrier between you and the metal. And keep in mind that the longer you wear a cheap piece of jewelry, the more likely it is to mark you, so try to wear it only for short periods of time, like in the evening, instead of all day. Sticking to 18 karat gold or higher will help you avoid markings altogether, as will wearing jewelry made of platinum, titanium, and stainless steal, although these materials are also more expensive than the cheap alloys used to make most costume jewelry.
8. It’s commemorative (and a little cheesy).
Wearing half a “best friends” charm pendant around your neck is cute when you are 13, but it feels a little bit silly when you are a working adult. Just let your jewelry be beautiful. That’s enough.
If you want to do that whole “best friends” thing, find something beautiful and buy two — one for you and one for her. A necklace doesn’t have to say “best friends” to be a best friends necklace.
9. Those feathers are looking a little raggedy.
Feathers are having a real moment right now and things are only going to get more intense in 2015 as the ’70s boho vibe that swept the runways in September starts finding it’s way into stores. That said, feathers are delicate and the second they break or get dirty, they go from being gorgeous and ethereal to being straight-up garbage.
If you want a feather you can hold onto for a long time, choose a feather shape carved out of stone or bone or cast in metal. Not only will it last a lot longer, but you won’t be injuring or killing a poor bird to get it.
10. That statement necklace is saying all the wrong things.
A lot of people think that throwing a big statement necklace on an otherwise boring outfit will make it look stylish and sophisticated, but they’re wrong. Those giant beaded and bedazzled bibs might be hugely popular, but most of them are too busy and colorful to ever look particularly chic. They’re just so “Look at me! I’m a giant necklace!”
Ditch the statement necklace for a cool pendant or choker or lariat. Or do a whole layered thing with small, delicate necklaces. Or wear an ear cuff. Or a bangle. Anything! The age of the giant multi-colored jeweled statement necklace is over. It’s time to move on.
Costume jewelry is jewelry made from inexpensive metals and imitations of precious stones. It tends to be flashy and sometimes over the top with gaudiness, although subdued costume jewelery that is designed to imitate more upscale jewelry is also available. This type of jewelry is popular among fashion and set designers, as well as people who want to have a little bit of fun with their accessorizing. It can be found in vintage stores as well as retail stores specializing in accessories.
Originally used as props, costume jewelry originated on stage sets. Jewelry for the stage was designed to be larger than life so that it would be visible to the audience, and it was a cheap way to make the set for a stage production more rich and lively. Some actors became attached to these gaudy additions to their costumes, and started wearing it off the stage as well. For someone of lower income, it can be a way to dress up without spending too much money.
Costume jewelry is not always cheap. Vintage jewelry and faux Victorian jewelry can be quite expensive, even if it is not made from materials of top quality. While faux jewelery can be fun, it can also be used as a serious fashion statement, and has a long history on the runway after being popularized by designers like Coco Chanel. Some jewelry designers specialize in costume jewelry that is worn by the rich and famous for a variety of reasons: fashion, security, or a sense of fun. Many individuals who own famous or expensive pieces of jewelry will have costume replicas made for more casual wear, so that they do not run the risk of losing an irreplaceable piece of jewelry.
This type of jewelry usually starts with a base metal such as tin. The metal is treated to resemble a more expensive metal such as gold, silver, or platinum. Traditionally, fake stones made from glass or paste were used; however, some costume jewelry uses real gemstones that are less expensive versions of their precious counterparts. Usually, the “stones” used are large and involve flashy cuts.
Costume jewelry is made in all sorts of styles from Victorian inspired brooches to imitation pearl necklaces. Rings, bracelets, earrings, and other jewelry accessories all come in costume as well as regular form. It can also be made at home by enterprising craftspeople and can be a fun project for kids as well.
First, a primer on Cuban women and jewelry.
It started as a baby, of course, before I was old enough to walk I was wearing my 18k gold necklace with La Virgen de La Caridad and my initials engraved on the back. Obviously, being a baby girl, my ears were pierced before I uttered my first word.
And from the moment I could raise my hand to say bye-bye, my gold “manilla” that told everyone I was Marta was already my standard statement piece. Believe it.
I’ll venture to guess that this is also true of most Cubans, male or female. Our fabulous culture demands we wear our jewelry proudly and we represent well. Am I right?
There is one name that is synonymous with Cuban Jewelry and fabulousness and that is Santayana Jewelers in Miami. I have written about them a lot here on my blog in the past years because I love them so.
They’ve designed a really fun collection of beautiful and affordable and IS-THAT-A-CAFETERA-ON-YOUR-WRIST? line of Pandora-type beads and bracelets that I know you will totally love. (I know this because of the response I get whenever I share any of their items with you, but that’s not important right now.)
Also, they’ve been more than generous in offering giveaways and deals to MBFCF readers in the past.
At the beginning of the 16th century, Spanish missionaries went to Cuba to evangelize the indigenous people and convert them to Catholicism. Cuba had very little gold and silver compared to places like Mexico and Peru, but it was nonetheless a valuable colony of Spain because of its strategic location as a stopping off point for vessels sailing between Spain and the new world. Cuba also had rich fertile land that lent itself to cattle grazing and agriculture. These were lucrative businesses because they supplied the sailors with food for the long ocean voyage.
In the eastern part of the island, the Nipe Bay was an important source of salt used in the curing of meat. Around the year 1612, three boys were there gathering salt, and the Virgin appeared to them in a vision. By tradition, they’re called the “Three Johns” (los tres Juanes), although records show one of them was actually named Rodrigo. Two were brothers (Juan and Rodrigo de Hoyos) of indigenous descent, and one (Juan Moreno) was Afro-Cuban. They were probably about 10 years old at the time. As an old man, Juan Moreno gave an account of what happened. According to him, they were in a small boat and they saw something white appear over the top of the waves. As they got closer to it, they saw it was the figure of the Virgin Mary, carrying the Baby Jesus in her arms. They noticed that her clothes weren’t wet, and she was standing on a wooden plaque that said “I am the Virgin of Charity.” The boys went back to the shore and reported what they saw to the overseer of the copper mines in that area. Upon investigation, they discovered that the boys had seen a statue of the Virgin; the administrator of the mines asked that a shrine be built in her honor, and she was installed there. But, according to the story, the statue of the Virgin kept disappearing and reappearing at that site, even though the doors were locked.
The people living nearby decided that the Virgin wanted to be moved to another spot, so they put her in the Templo Parroquial del Cobre near Santiago de Cuba. From that time forward, she became known as La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre. But, she wasn’t happy there, either. She kept disappearing and appearing, so the people decided she wanted to be in the Sierra Maestra mountains. This coincided with another vision of the Virgin, which took place on the mountainside near the copper mines. A young girl named Apolonia claimed she saw the Virgin there while she was picking flowers. Although not everyone believed the girl, they decided it would be best to move the Virgin’s statue there. This became her final resting place, where her shrine is found today, although over time, the shrine has been expanded to accommodate more people. She was moved to the larger sanctuary on September 8, 1927. About ten years earlier, veterans of the Cuban war of independence had asked the Pope to name the Virgin of Caridad del Cobre as the Patroness of Cuba. He signed the documents in 1916, and September 8 was recognized as her official feast day. In 1977 her sanctuary was elevated to the rank of Basilica by Pope Paul VI.
La Caridad del Cobre: Patroness of Cuba
History and legend have mixed together in the story of the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre. For example, some people say that the Tres Juanes were fishermen, and the Virgin appeared to save them from a terrible storm at sea. According to official records, the statue of the Virgin of Charity was carved in Toledo, Spain, at the orders of a captain who wanted to create a shrine where his soldiers could pray for the Virgin’s protection against English pirate attacks on the coast of Cuba. Some people say the ship carrying the statue was wrecked on a coral reef in the Caribbean and the statue floated to Cuba. They claim that several times the church officials tried to return the statue to Spain, but each time something unexpected happened and the statue returned to Cuba. They took this as a sign that she wanted to stay in Cuba, which explains why the Cubans feel a special attachment to her. Cubans refer to her lovingly as “Cachita.” When Ernest Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for literature, he gave the metal to her to show his love for Cuba.
A favorite pastime of mine is spotting jewelry in paintings. Whether it be an Elizabethan dandy’s multiple strings of pearls or a Victorian woman’s mourning jewels, these pieces are a fascinating glimpse into what was most prized in a particular culture or period of time.
It was during the Georgian era that the art form of eye miniatures took off among the wealthy. The fad for wearing a tiny painting of your mystery lover’s eye on a ring or pendant was started by who else but George IV, who first had one painted for his lover, the scandalously Catholic and twice-widowed Maria Fitzherbert.
Today, designers are creating scandal-free—but no less beautiful—jewelry incorporating miniature paintings once again. The gems featured here are quite literally wearable masterpieces.
Jewelry is one of the ways people identify themselves to others. Consider what the jewelry is saying about the people you meet at parties and on the street.
Here are several general types as follows:
A person who wears large jewelry such as big hoop earrings, thick dangling necklaces, or extravagant rings is likely to be an active, social and bubbly person.
They are the ones usually surrounded by groups of people at a party.
Their generous and cheery personalities draw people to them like metal filings to a magnet.
People who wear recycled material such as turquoise earrings, bangle bracelets and sea glass or shell necklaces are nature lovers.
They enjoy the outdoors and have an awareness of the world around them. They tend to gravitate toward earthy tones such as brown, beige, forest green and ocean blue.
There are people who prefer elegant and simple jewelry such as pearl earrings and necklaces.
These people are often traditionalists and family oriented. They prefer a quiet get together with close friends to a night out on the town.
They have classic tastes in furniture and clothing. Their poise and calm demeanor would make them noticeable from across a crowded room.
The Best of the Best
Everything these people wear is chosen with great care and attention to detail. They never settle for second best and move forward through life at full speed.
They set goals for themselves and expect those goals to be reached. When they buy jewelry, they make sure it is going to be the piece that they want and will settle for nothing less.
They wear watches from Neiman Marcus, diamonds from Tiffany and shop at Saks Fifth Avenue. Others often look to them for advice and guidance.
People who are neat, responsible and organized tend to wear jewelry in matched sets.
They may wear a gold necklace with matching earrings. Or elegant silver bracelets that match the color of their shoes perfectly.
They are gracious hosts and excellent conversationalists who are often sought out for advice.
There are some people who make bold statements with their jewelry by wearing vintage pieces. They want jewelry that stands out and is different from the standard.
These people can often be found in antique and thrift stores, searching for that perfect piece of jewelry that has their name on it.
They don’t care much about brand names. For them, what they wear is more than a statement; it is a form of art.
Wash and Wear
People that wear on-the-go jewelry, such as tennis bracelets and necklaces with pendants, tend to have an active life. Their jewelry needs to be able to fit into their energetic and athletic lifestyle.
They want to look good without giving up the things they enjoy doing. They are also highly motivated and love jewelry engraved with inspirational sayings.
An important factor to consider is also the type of situation that someone is in. For instance, at an interview, a person may want to wear pearl studs or small hoops.
If they wear a necklace, the chain should be thin, with no pendant attached. During interviews, people want to give a more conservative impression.
On the other hand, for a party with friends, a person could possibly wear one of their nicest pieces of jewelry or perhaps something with more sparkle and flash to it.
Conservative jewelry is an essential part of a professional wardrobe. Artistic jewelry is more about making a statement.
Both styles are valid and needed in everyday life. Give some thought to what pieces of jewelry you put on each day. They speak about what kind of personality you have whether you are at work or at play.