Do you have a passion for sparkly baubles and want to turn your jewelry hobby into a small business? Or maybe you’re always on the lookout for new ways to save money while expanding your jewelry collection. Perhaps you have a love for crafts and want to find new ways to upcycle materials you already own. Either way, plenty of upcycled jewelry projects are available to make and sell.
What is Upcycled Jewelry?
New jewelry can be expensive, and it doesn’t help that styles are always changing. That’s why upcycled jewelry continues to gain popularity around the world. Reusing old and broken jewelry that might otherwise take up space in a drawer makes the pieces more sustainable than crafting new gems and metals.
Plus, upcycling old jewelry breathes new life into old jewelry that might still hold sentimental value. Of course, upcycled and recycled designs also are a favorite choice among jewelry connoisseurs because they save money and provide one-of-a-kind pieces unlike anything worn before.
Upcycled jewelry can be purchased from craftspeople and professional jewelry makers, but it can also be a DIY project at home. With the right materials, tools and skill, any jewelry lover can transform their old designs into sparkling works of art. With enough practice, a jewelry fan even can learn how to start a small business on Etsy or how to sell on Amazon Handmade.
Looking for ways to repurpose old jewelry? Check out the following 10 upcycled jewelry projects to make and sell:
What Can You Make with Old Jewelry?
Want to to craft unique creations to add to your collection, give as a one-of-a-kind gift or even sell through a small business? The possibilities of upcycled and repurposed jewelry are practically endless.
You can upcycle jewelry to new versions of the original piece, or you can transform your creations from old or broken baubles to beautiful repurposed products. For example, a bracelet can be redesigned as a trendier version of itself, or the gems from a variety of broaches can take on the form of a decorative photo frame.
Old and broken accessories can have a new lease on life when transformed into custom jewelry, and there is a growing market for sustainable upcycled jewelry designs. Just learn where to sell handmade items locally or how to sell jewelry on Etsy or other online marketplaces. It’s simple!
Upcycled Jewelry Ideas
Looking to create the perfect custom gift, save money on new jewelry designs or even learn how to start an upcycling business and sell repurposed jewelry? While your creations are only limited by your imagination, you’ll need a few upcycled jewelry ideas to get started:
1. Repurpose Vintage Jewelry
2. Upcycle Gold Jewelry
Classic gold jewelry never goes out of style. Recycled gold continues to trend as reusing old gold and scrap gold in new jewelry designs not only saves money but it also makes a more sustainable gift.
Scrap gold can be melted down and transformed into brand new jewelry designs by a professional jeweler, or old and broken gold jewelry can be dressed up and upcycled into a trendier version of the original.
3. Upcycle Diamond Jewelry
Diamonds might be forever, but the reason for wearing them could be a different story. Instead of designating old diamonds to spend eternity in a drawer, you can repurpose loose diamonds into new creations. The stone from an old engagement ring can be transformed into a pendant, or vice versa, for example.
Upcycling diamond jewelry also can make for a successful small business venture. Old diamonds might still require an investment, but the trendier designs they can create can fetch an even heftier profit. You can reuse diamonds in your possession or source other’s old and discarded gems from pawn shops, used jewelry stores, flea markets and other local or online vendors.
4. Upcycle Silver Jewelry
Silver jewelry also remains a popular choice among consumers. Like other precious metals, however, sourcing the materials isn’t always the most sustainable effort. Instead of letting old silver jewelry go to waste once it’s broken or fallen out of style, you can reuse the same silver and transform it into upcycled and repurposed jewelry creations.
Try adding a new chain to a unique silver pendent or use jeweler’s tools to repair broken silver elements. In the above example, new chain elements were added to owl designs to upcycle and reuse a broken jewelry design with recycled metals.
5. Redesign Wedding Rings and Engagement Rings
An old wedding ring holds its monetary value, but the sentiment behind it might have come to an end. Or perhaps a family heirloom simply doesn’t match the style of a trendy bride. An engagement ring or wedding ring can be transformed by updating the setting of the ring design.
Plus, redesigning wedding rings is a more sustainable and often a more affordable alternative to purchasing a new ring. Because people are always getting married, there is always a market for repurposed wedding rings and engagement rings.
6. Repurpose Old Necklaces
Old necklaces can be upcycled and repurposed in a variety of creative ways. Obviously, a broken necklace can be repaired or updated with a new chain or stylish pendant. Necklaces also can be transformed into bracelets or even delicate headbands.
Obviously, one way to upcycle a broken necklace is simply by replacing its broken chain, but the material from the necklace also can be repurposed into an entirely new piece, whether it’s another form of jewelry or accessory or even common household items. The pendant from a necklace also can make a beautiful center stone in an upcycled new ring.
7. Repurpose Earrings
Earrings rarely last forever. What do you do when your favorite pair of earrings breaks or your sentimental set goes out of style? You easily can repurpose earrings into a variety of other adornments.
A broken earring might be transformed into a wearable piece of jewelry by adding the stone to a costume ring. By adding repurposed decoration to simple ring bands, earrings can be repurposed into beautiful and trendy rings that can be sold online or at local crafts fairs.
8. Upcycle Old Brooches
Repurposing old brooches remains a hot fashion trend as people look for ways to sustainably upcycle old jewelry. Fancy decorative brooches adorned with pearls, stones and sparkles have gone in and out of fashion over the decades, and these old-fashioned adornments often end up filling jewelry boxes without a future purpose.
Offer an old brooch new life by repurposing it into other accessories or decorative items. Brooches make great fridge magnets, or you can wear them on a chain as a pendant necklace. A popular bridal trend consists of gathering a variety of brooches with sentimental meaning from friends and family, then transforming them into one-of-a-kind bridal bouquets.
9. Repurpose Bracelets
All sorts of old items can be repurposed into bracelets. Craftspeople and entrepreneurs often sell upcycled bracelets made from zippers, soda tabs and even old phone cords.
You even can use the charms, pendants and centerpieces from all sorts of other broken jewelry items and transform them into a unique charm bracelet, like the one shown above. The beads from an old bracelet also can be used to create a new bangle or wristband. Repurposed bracelets are popular items on Etsy and other online marketplaces, and upcycled bracelets made from practically any material from gemstones and beads to household trash can be bought and sold there.
10. Upcycle Old Earrings
Old, broken and tarnished earrings don’t have to be destined for the junk drawer or trash bin. Instead, craftspeople and entrepreneurs alike can upcycle old, discarded earrings into new designs that become the latest fashion trends.
You can paint old earrings a new color or add rhinestones to a simple design. You even might be inspired to tie tassels to an old pair of hoop earrings, like in the example above. No matter your process, upcycled earrings made fabulous gifts, not to mention plenty of bling for designers in their small businesses.
How to Sell Your Repurposed Jewelry
People love to purchase upcycled jewelry, which is what makes selling repurposed jewelry such a lucrative small business idea. Once you’ve mastered the art of repurposed jewelry and created an inventory of handmade products, you can sell your designs practically anywhere people shop and in a variety of locations, including:
- Local boutiques and resales shops
- Online marketplaces like Etsy, Amazon Handmade and Ebay
- Local crafts fairs and festivals
- Online through your own blog or e-commerce website.