Vintage and costume jewelry reborn as art with a memory

Earrings, pins, buttons and more are the basis for vintage jewelry art.
Earrings, pins, buttons and more are the basis for vintage jewelry art. Submitted

My mom loved jewelry.

She had several beautiful pieces my dad gave her over their 41-year marriage. Some came from his travels during his Navy career.

Others were just pieces that she really liked. I recall one year around Christmas, he asked me to take a ride with him. We ended up at a jewelry store, where he bought her a blue topaz necklace and earrings. He didn’t really care for the gemstone, but mom loved it, so he bought it for her.

Then he handed it to me to wrap — that was dad.

My mom died earlier this year and my family and I spent a lot of time clearing out their house to ready it for sale.

Mom’s more expensive pieces were designated by her for a specific daughter. Then the daughters-in-law, then the granddaughters. Everyone has something to remember her by.

But, oh my, the costume jewelry.

There were pins, and rings and earrings — a whole trove of things that was even too much for all six daughters, two daughters-in-law and seven granddaughters to take in. And some things just weren’t our style.

But Maureen, the eldest, had seen something on Pinterest that caught her eye. Vintage jewelry turned into art. So on Labor Day, everyone who could gathered at her house and the crafting began.

All it really takes is a canvas board, a glue gun, a pair of wire cutters, some paint, a stencil and lots of imagination.

Using stencils and spray-on fabric paint, a design is painted onto the canvas board.

Maureen and I chose a fleur-de-lis. My sister-in-law, Cheryl, chose a cross. My niece, Megan, free-handed an outline of Mississippi.

After that, it was time to start looking at mom’s costume jewelry collection and start assembling.

I found the easiest way to do it was to start placing things on the canvas board to see the design take shape.

We also made use of some of dad’s military ribbons, uniform buttons and small lapel pins. Once the design was done to each’s satisfaction, we used the wire cutters to take the clasps off earrings, fasteners off pins and so on.

Then it was just a matter of using a dollop of glue from the glue gun and attach it to the board.

Now, every time I look at it, I’ll have a different memory from each piece on the board. The great thing about this project is that it can be as elaborate or simple as you want it to be.

My board still shows some of the canvas backing between pieces. Others have their boards absolutely covered inside the design.

The important part, I think, are the the memories it evokes.

Kate Magandy: 228-896-2344, @kmagandy