9 Lessons in Choosing Thrift Store Jewelry to Reconstruct Into New Jewelry

9 Lessons for choosing thrift store jewelry to reconstruct

Thrift Store Jewelry RemakeI purchased these 2 pieces of jewelry from a local thrift store specifically to reconstruct into new jewelry pieces.

The earrings are actually really oddly made dangles of chandelier crystals, which I actually use all of the time.  It was weird to come across them at the thrift store.

The other piece is a double-strand black, white and clear bracelet with a cute heart charm.

Why they are good choices to remake:

The chandelier crystal earrings were really a bonus find for me.  I use old chandelier crystals all the time in jewelry making, so I was thrilled to find these.

Lesson 1:

Look for jewelry in materials you know you love and like to work with.  These earrings are ugly as sin, but the components used to make them are beautiful.

The bracelet has beads in the colors I like to most often wear and a cute charm I can reuse, even if not on this project I can save it for another.

Lesson 2:

Look for jewelry in colors you want to use.  Look at the individual beads and components, not the piece as a whole.

Note:  This is fairly obvious, but you need to look for jewelry that is strung on string, not the kind that is fused on the string.  You will find a lot of the fused stuff really cheap, but you can’t take it apart to make new jewelry with it!

Thrift Store Jewelry Remake

Thrift Store Jewelry RemakeWhy this is a good choice to remake:

The color is gorgeous.

The beads are unique – they are drilled in a unique location on the bead.

Lesson 3:  

Choose unique pieces where the components catch your eye.  Always examine them up close to make sure you can use the individual components and they are in good condition.

Thrift Store Jewelry RemakeWhy this is a good choice to remake:

This piece is a little different in that I have no plans to take this bracelet apart.  I like it.  However, I do intend to add to it.  This is a nice base.  I like the flowers and the chain is sturdy.  The bracelet is in good shape.

Lesson 4:

Sometimes you can use the jewelry you find as a base to build upon.  Check to make sure the jewelry is in good condition and sturdy if you aren’t deconstructing it, but rather using it as a base.

Thrift Store Jewelry RemakeWhy this is a good choice to remake:

At first glance this bracelet does not seem like a good choice.  It has pretty colors, but those beads look pretty secure.

When I picked it up and examined it more closely, the colorful components were buttons and they were just sewn onto the bracelet.  I could easily deconstruct this bracelet.

Lesson 5:

Sometimes you have to pick it up and examine it more closely before you decide against it.

Thrift Store Jewelry RemakeWhy this is a good choice to remake:

I love all of the beads.  Some of them have crystals, even.  And it was a great price.  To me, it almost looks like a bead strand you purchase at a bead store.

Lesson 6:

Just go with your gut and pick out things you like.

Thrift Store Jewelry Remake

Thrift Store Jewelry Remake

Why this is a good choice to remake:

This is actually a belt.  It has a lot of these cool wooden pieces that I can reuse PLUS all the cord as a bonus!

Lesson 7:

Sometimes look in other parts of the thrift store to find accessories with components you can reuse.

Thrift Store Jewelry RemakeWhy this is a good choice to remake:

When I purchased this piece, I intended to polish it up and wear it as is.  But then I started think of ideas for the necklace and the pendant separately.

Lesson 8:

Keep an open mind when you purchase thrift store jewelry.  You might come up with different ideas than you originally planned!

Thrift Store Jewelry Remake

Why this is a good choice to remake:

The beads are beautiful.  This bracelet is in bad condition and about to come apart, but I can reuse the beads to make something gorgeous.

Lesson 9:

If you find a piece of vintage jewelry that is beautiful as is, leave it as is or repair it so that it’s functional again.

I hope this inspires you and makes you confident to find pieces to reconstruct!

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  1. Leslie says:

    Hi Kimberlie
    Great info on collecting used jewellery. It’s really helpful. Wow! I hope I can make some great finds like you did. Thanks so much.
    Warmest regards,

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