One of the questions I get asked often is: are there pieces that I make that I just can’t sell? The answer is: Yes, oh, yes! For example, sometimes I will make a bunch of earrings in one sitting–and not be able to part with a single pair of them. I not only enjoy the process of making jewelry, but also sourcing it. Usually the pieces that I just can’t part with are unique bits of history; are pieces that are considerably time-intensive. (The longer I work a piece, the more likely it is that I will want to keep it.); or, are pieces that I made collaboratively with my mom or friends. The jewelry then is not merely an accessory, but a cherished memory as well.
While I wear my jewelry regularly, I don’t run into all of you every day so I thought I would share a few of my favorite earrings that I couldn’t part with for starters. I promise to post other pieces that have a permanent home just one stop over from my studio–my jewelry case & bookshelf vanity.
If you like my jewelry organizer–check out my DIY to make one for yourself! Accessorizing is so much easier when you can see all of your options at once. It also helps keep all of your earrings together, your necklaces untangled, and your rings visible.
I have nicknamed these earrings “Lady Lamplighter.” The intricate woman holding up a fiery torch is etched in glass. It’s delicate and yet still expresses a kind of strength. The glass pieces themselves are from an antique chandelier. Many of the pieces were broken–and the others unfortunately found a very creative 5 year old who painted in the ladies with crayon. I was able to salvage a few of the pieces–and made this pair of earrings. (The are also my favorite!).
These next two pairs I love for the same reason: they are dainty & feminine while also being primarily made of metal. The earrings on the left (my second favorite) are made with washers, nuts, and pearls. The earrings on the right are made with clothing snaps and rhinestones.
I kept these earrings because the process of making them was so fun! I got even more inventive and simply loved how they came out! These earrings are made with gears, spring cogs, clothing fasteners, washers, seed beads, and bugle beads. I am also someone who really loves mixing metals–the brass and the muted silver of the beads & washers is a nice mixture of tones with the beat up look of the brass.
Here’s a similar pair–one of my recent creations–made with pearl buttons, clothing fasteners, key charms, and 2 mismatched pocketwatch parts. White pearl buttons are a favorite material of mine. I love their luminescence and even when a pearl button is caked in dust or scuffed, it has a quality of richness to it. Below is another favorite pair of earrings–also made with pearl buttons.
To the right you’ll also see a pair of earrings made with gears & old silver cameos. The cameos were originally earrings, but their studs were rusting and so I excised them to save the intact cameos & fashioned a new pair of earrings!
These earrings have a unique material–the tiny pliers. The pliers were made by the Intercast Gries Reproducer Co. as a cracker jack prize (You can read more about them here in a separate blog post.) I love how the pliers are actually functional–they open & close. I made myself a pair of earrings; especially since pliers are one of my main tools. I coupled these little prizes with gears and washers. They are a crackerjack pair of earrings if I do say so myself!
These earrings came together serendipitously! The bronze looking piece at the top of the earrings is actually a metal plate piece that unscrews out of a tiny alarm clock. The bronze colored substance around it is wire. I came across one of these little pieces over a year ago and placed it on my studio table to “percolate” until I figured out what I wanted to make with it. Then a few months ago, I bought a jumbled box of junk at a flea market and inside I discovered the piece’s twin! I love it when that happens–and it happens so rarely that I find an exact match.
I’ve come to think of these earrings as my Steampunk Christmas Earrings–because of the jolly red of the crystals. What many of you might not know is that I also use primarily upcycled & salvaged beads. I source them from damaged jewelry (or stupendously hideous costume jewelry), flea markets, and crafty swap-meets.
These last two pairs of earrings are made with a rare material–and one that recalls a most beloved memory. When I graduated with my Masters in English, my mom and I took a trip to Paris to celebrate. My mom had never been out of the country before and I couldn’t be more excited to share in her first European adventure. It was a week filled with art, fresh French pastries & desserts, wine, conversation, and above all–junking! My mom had mapped out a Parisian tour of flea markets, little scrap shops, and jewelry boutiques. At the flea market, we ambled along & found a great many treasures. One of which were these gold filigree pieces. I used them to make earrings for the both of us as a reminder of our trip.
Both earrings have a similar color palette–black & gold. The first pair I made with bugle beads, seed beads, washers, Austrian crystals from a family necklace, swivel clasps (another fave material), and finally the beautiful gold filigree piece from Paris. The second pair are a little fancier & bolder. These are made with clock hands, clothing fasteners, black jet beads, and the Parisian filigree piece. Every time I wear these earrings, and my mom wears hers, I am reminded of our many junk jaunts around not only Paris, but the Northeast. I am so lucky that I have someone to look up to–a dreamer, a giver, and a maker!
Hope you liked seeing these pieces! What’s your favorite pair of earrings? Do they tell a story? What about them do you love?