How I Gave an Old Light New Life as Crystal Jewelry
The Ugly Light at the Garage Sale
Designing crystal jewelry out of upcycled chandelier crystals all started for me with a dated 1960s-era light I found at a garage sale. My sister and I used to go treasure hunting at garage sales most Saturday mornings. That meant getting out of my nice warm bed before 7am, and I am not a morning person! However, you can find some really cool things at garage sales so it was often worth it. On one particular trip, I found an old ceiling light, a round dome with a base of tarnished brass and a variety of chandelier crystals swagged in a dome shape. It was pretty ugly and dated and not in a cool retro way. I figured I’d just take it apart and salvage the crystals. At another house, I found a simple black iron chandelier with pretty scrollwork that I envisioned embellishing with some of the crystals I just found. The price for each light was a steal, and we needed a new lighting fixture for our dining room. My guy and I had just bought a new home, so we were short on money but well-stocked in creativity!
When I got home from the garage sales, I grabbed some tools and got to work. I carefully removed all of the crystals from the dome and played with a few layouts to swag on the new-to-me chandelier. Once I chose a layout, I restrung the crystals on wire and draped them from the rungs of the chandelier. To add the rustic vibe I was after, I added some faux-wood-wrapped twigs with little crystals. I was initially inspired by a chandelier I’d seen in a Pottery Barn catalogue that had sparkle and yet a rustic feel. They no longer carry the exact chandelier, but it was a bit like a cross between this one and this one. I’m quite pleased with how mine turned out!
How I Started Making Crystal Jewelry
I had several chandelier crystals left over from that project, and I stored them with my arts and crafts supplies for a few years until I started making jewelry. I’m a life-long artist, and I’ve worked with a variety of mediums. I've created several wine-themed paintings and drawings - at times even using wine as paint - and I didn't want to limit my art to a paper or canvas surface. I wanted to design artistic pieces that could be worn, so I came up with a way to pair my artwork with upcycled chandelier crystals. After I created the Cork Collection, I started working on new sparkly crystal jewelry designs. For the Crystal Collection, I combine reproductions of my original paintings, drawings, and handmade mixed media artwork with upcycled chandelier crystals to create one-of-a-kind pieces of wearable art.
I created a third collection apart from my crystal jewelry featuring two-dimensional art, but I wanted to display it in a more modern, structural shape. For the Structure Collection, I make reproductions of my art, carefully set it into framed pendants with a touch of sparkle, and preserve the art under hand-poured glass-like resin.