I have enormous respect for artisans whose work sets them apart. But some readers have e-mailed me asking for ideas that a good local jeweler can adapt.
And some of you wield pliers with power and grace; you assure us that with an evening to spare and a threading needle, we can achieve something divine. I'm keeping it simple, though; my lone foray into necklace-making led me shamefaced to the pros for rescue.
So, for your idea board, three options: the first, a master's calling card, the second, one for a proficient jeweler, and finally, a reno that you could do in front of your TV.
1. Master class: Repurposed bakelite
I dream Mark Davis dreams; he takes old bakelite, refinishes it, then inlays or attaches gems. Above, a vintage bracelet bezel-set with pink tourmaline, rhodolite and ruby. (Price, $3,550.)
Here's another treatment, a marbled violet bakelite bangle with inlaid lilac harlequins, $2,200. Loving the rich iridescence and colour play.
Not many jewelers can apply inlay–which is why Davis is on my ship-comes-in list; however, most cuffs or bangles can be reno'd by the the addition of bezel-set stones.
2. Professional jeweler: New home for a small stone
Small diamonds languish for decades, plunked into tired engagement rings. Why not keep the sentiment but set the stone into something brilliantly cool?
Voilà, a Pat Flynn iron cuff with a dusting of 22k gold, set with a 1/3ct marquis diamond vaults that little sparkler out Akron. Or if you want to buy the bracelet, it's $3,800 at Twist.
If adapting this idea, you don't need a diamond; any stone of the right proportions will work: a silver cuff with a slice of fire opal, bronze with a sprinkle of garnets, gold with coloured stones from discreet smoky topaz to flashy paraiba tourmaline.
3. DIY: Pearls like pop-beads
Have you too-small pearls or a strand that 'shrunk' around the neck? Why not pull them apart to make one or more stretch bracelets?
Here's a version of the pearl stretch bracelet from Pearl Paradise. Shown, Tahitian circled baroques punctuated by a golden South Sea; price, about $295. (Pearl Paradis have a larger selection in stock than what's shown on the site; call to inquire if you would like a specific mix.)
If making your own (directions here), remember the holes in your pearls need to be big enough to fit the elastic thread. (Pearls typically have .8mm holes; some are drilled at 1mm.) Use a strong, clear stretch cord like 7mm Stretch Magic.
Pearls can be re-drilled to enlarge the holes; Pearl Paradise are one company who do this. Once that little detail is in hand, you can play, mixing in other beads or pearl varieties. A YouTube video shows you how to hide the knot, essential to a neat piece. These look terrific worn as multiples.
If you try the DIY route and it doesn't work out, you can always do what I did: have a good laugh and see a sympathetic and talented jeweler. And remember, what sits unworn isn't much fun. Reno away!