Baubles, bangles, and budgets

A new bracelet is a joyful jewelry purchase because you get to admire it, unlike earrings, which you can't see. (When someone says, "I like your earrings", I often feel them to remember what pair I'm wearing.)

What if you had the materials for that bracelet in your own jewelry box? The first step: round up your scrap gold and outdated rings or earrings. You could add more gold or buy additional stones, but you will have remodeled an unworn item and (as you'll see from these prices) pay way less than buying new. You don't need gold, either- see the Pat Flynn iron cuff below.

The second step is to build a file or "idea board" of bracelets you like, keeping your current castaways in mind.

What designs might you consider?

A centre stone from a ring can become a focal point for a bracelet. Here's an example, a Arman jeweled cuff in 22k gold and oxidized silver, tourmaline and diamonds. (The Arman piece is $23,000 at Fragments.)

Give a small solitaire a stunning new home.
Pat Flynn's hand-forged iron cuff is dusted with 22k gold detail and set with a 1/3ct marquise diamond, $3, 800 at Twist.

tones like these tourmaline cabuchons can be set in a ribbon cuff (which does not take a great amount of precious metal) like this Laurie Kaiser bracelet, also from Fragments, $8, 400.

The final step is an appointment with a jeweler whose work you admire. Take your time; don't expect her to come up with the perfect design on the spot. Discuss your budget; some work can be done in stages.

My jewelers, Pam Chandler and Don Collins of Artworks, recently showed me a set of twelve thin diamond-studded bangles they made for a client who had inherited a pile of small stones.

Using her diamonds, some recycled a
nd some purchased gold, each bracelet cost about $1, 000. She ordered all twelve at once, lucky woman, but they told me they'd done similar work for clients who have a few made at a time.

The hammered diamond bangles shown are The Diamond Cluster ($3,165) Thin Hammered ($725), and Hammered Crescent styles by Kamofie Designs from Moonlight Lily.

This is a wonderfully wearable style; pile them on one arm or both. Pam and Don invited me to try these on; I'd rather have a single perfect gold bangle than a pile of unworn pieces.


WendyB said…
I am working on some bangles now! My first bracelets in ages, using some old garnets a customer had.
materfamilias said…
You're always so inspiring on jewelry, Duchesse! Sadly, I have no such stash to play with, but I love seeing these ideas. My problem with bracelets is that at some point during the day, I'm sitting doing a pile of marking or some other kind of writing, and I get irritated by the bracelet clanking on the desktop -- if only I could get used to wearing it on my other arm, over my watch, but I just can't seem to . . .
Duchesse said…
WendyB: Please show us when it's finished; I'm sure it will be TDF!

materfamilias: Some bracelets are more wearable than others but you do get used to them. One of the Tiffany Diamonds by the Yard bracelets is absolutely nonintrusive and looks great worn with a watch ;)
Mardel said…
Your jewelry choices are always so amazing. I used to love bracelets, mostly cuffs, and then stopped when I worked at a desk that required much paperwork. Computers are easier. Now I am getting my bracelet arms back in shape and loving bangles too.

Thanks for the inspiration
Julianne said…
Those are beautiful. I especially love the diamond studded bangles. I am more fond of bangles that chain type bracelets.
Frugal Scholar said…
My mother had this done years ago. I had forgotten. Thanks for the memories. And of course I love the concept--frugal luxe or luxe frugal.

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