3 Ways to Repurpose Vintage Jewelry

by Kelly Anderson

3 Ways to Repurpose Vintage Jewelry

Have you ever been given old costume jewelry from your grandma and thought, “What the heck am I going to do with this?!” Well, you should consider yourself seriously lucky. Vintage costume jewelry is one of the most beautiful and unique kinds of jewelry out there. Not only does it often hold sentimental value, but it can also be an affordable and one-of-a-kind addition to your jewelry collection. Brooches and clip-on earrings may not be worn a lot today, but don’t look past them just yet. I’m here to show you that these pieces can be transformed into modern and wearable jewelry for today. Bonus: You’ll be DOUBLE proud to say that you made it and it’s vintage!


Vintage Brooch Cocktail Ring



This first vintage jewelry project is one of my favorites: turning a brooch into a cocktail ring. I’m sure you’ve seen brooches before and dismissed them, knowing you’re not going to pin one to your sweater like your kindergarten teacher did with ones shaped like apples and pencils. But brooches make the most perfect cocktail rings.

Supplies you’ll need:


  • Vintage brooches:Grab the pieces you want made into rings! Any shape works; use your imagination.
  • End cutter pliers
  • Ring blanks:Choose gold or silver depending on your brooch, and choose different shaped tops depending on the back shape of the brooch. For example, if the back of the brooch is curved, find a ring blank that is curved in the opposite direction so it fits. I found the gold ones I used here on Etsy, and the silver one from Hobby Lobby. Most are adjustable in size.
  • E6000 craft glue
  • Tape measure


Vintage Brooch Cocktail Ring: Step 1



Cut off the back of your brooch using the end cutter pliers. Get right at the base on each side of the pin and snap off so you have a clean surface to adhere to the ring blank. Make sure to cut off enough so you have no sharp edges; you may need to keep trimming if you do.


Vintage Brooch Cocktail Ring: Step 2



Apply E6000 craft glue directly from the tube to the ring blank. Don’t be afraid to add a big glob of glue; you want the ring to hold. Place the ring in the desired location on the back of the brooch. If you want to make a bar ring that spans across multiple fingers and requires 2-3 ring blanks, use your tape measure to measure the distance between your fingers with the rings on. Mine was about 5 cm. Use this distance when spacing out the rings on the brooch.


Vintage Brooch Cocktail Ring: Step 3



Let the ring dry overnight. Make sure you have a secure place for the ring to dry where it won’t turn upside down or have the ring portion slide around while the glue starts to settle. Voila! You now have a gorgeous one-of-a-kind cocktail ring.


Vintage Bracelet



Another way to repurpose vintage jewelry is to make a bracelet. Every girl should have a glamorous embellished bracelet in their jewelry collection, and this one will be even more special since you made it. Plus, you’ll love stacking this vintage one along with your more modern pieces for an overall beautiful and eclectic bracelet mix.

Supplies you’ll need:

  • Vintage brooches or earrings:Get creative here! Use brooches and earrings to create an awesome design.
  • End cutter pliers
  • Bracelet blanks:This can totally vary depending on what kind of bracelet you want and what will work for your design. Do you want a wide cuff? A skinny bangle? Go to your local craft store or search online to see what’s available and which type will work best for what you’re imagining. A lot of times just doing the searching will get your creative juices flowing. The cuff and hinged bracelet I used here are from Hobby Lobby.
  • E6000 craft glue


Vintage Bracelet: Step 1



Cut the backs off the brooches and/or earrings you’ll be using. Use the end cutter pliers to get nice and close to the base of the pin or clip to cut it right off. Make sure you’ve got a nice blank canvas on the vintage pieces to adhere to your bracelet blank and trim any sharp edges with your pliers.


Vintage Bracelet: Step 2



Get to work on your design! Plan out how you want the vintage jewels laid out. Once you’re ready, add some glue directly to your vintage pieces and press gently onto your bracelet. Keep them in place for a bit while the glue settles. Repeat with however many vintage pieces you have for your design.


Vintage Bracelet: Step 3



Let the bracelet dry overnight in a secure spot so nothing moves. You now have a sparkly, unique addition to your arm party!


Converting Vintage Earrings to Pierced Earrings



Many of today’s earring designs are inspired by vintage jewelry. It’s truly amazing how the trends come and go. When most people think of vintage earrings however, they think of them as unwearable. Clip-ons can be broken or hurt your ears when worn for an extended period of time, and then there’s the screw-backs; I don’t even know how women kept them on their ears back in the day! Most vintage earring styles work perfectly as pierced earrings and it’s a great way to honor the past by wearing them still today. I’ll show you how easy it is to convert your old clip-ons into post earrings.

Supplies you’ll need:

  • Vintage earrings:Grab the jewels you want converted. There are countless sparklers out there!
  • End cutter pliers
  • Earring postsandbacks:Use gold for gold earrings, and silver for silver earrings. You’ll want flat, glueable posts that are easily adhered to the back of your earrings.
  • E6000 craft glue
  • Toothpicks


Converting Vintage to Pierced Earrings: Step 1



Before you cut the clips off your earrings, remember exactly where the clip opens and closes and where the earrings should be worn. This is where you will need to place your new posts so they’re still worn the same way they were intended to. Use your end cutter pliers to get right at the base of the clip and snap it off. Trim any sharp edges with your pliers if you need to.


Converting Vintage to Pierced Earrings: Step 2



Using the tip of a toothpick, grab some glue from the tube and transfer to the back of the earring post. Once your post has enough glue, gently apply the post where the clip used to open and close. Press down gently and make sure it’s in the right place. Repeat for the other earring.


Converting Vintage to Pierced Earrings: Step 3



Let dry overnight before placing the earring back on the post (sometimes if the back is put on before the blue is completely dry, the post can be pulled off). Once dry, you’re ready to wear your newly converted vintage earrings!

Now you are a bona fide vintage queen, rocking your vintage cocktail rings, bracelets and earrings. Don’t be surprised if you start picking up sparkling vintage beauties everywhere you go now (not to mention a million compliments along the way). “Thanks Grandma!”

If you love jewelry, head over to A Sparkle Affair for more jewelry inspiration.