Make something old something new

Posted on the 18th November 2011

Crushed in the tube, hurled into a locker before a gym class, snatched at by screaming babies – the jewels of the Modern Woman have a raw deal. No longer do we spend our days indoors, placidly working on our embroidery whilst gazing out of the window at men in tight trousers. Much as I’d sometimes like to, we don’t live in a period drama. One of the most frequent complaints from customers who come in to sell their antique and period jewellery is that it’s not ‘wearable’. Modern Women are real. We’re out and about, pulling jumpers on, lugging shopping around and squeezing our way through crowded bars. We rarely sport hats, our scarves are chunky wool affairs which need no pinning, and we baulk at the thought of putting heavy brooches on our flimsy tops. What future, therefore, for the plethora of Victorian and Edwardian hatpins, scarf-pins, and brooches that abound on the jewellery circuit? Fashion has rendered redundant a huge proportion of old jewellery and left a big question-mark hanging ominously over its fate. As a passionate rejecter of scrapping, I see but two paths for the unfashionable antique jewel: preservation or adaptation. Which one you choose depends on how you value the item: as a historical artifact or as a piece that should be worn and enjoyed. Today I’m going to focus on the latter option, that of adapting pieces of jewellery that are no longer seen as ‘wearable’ by their owners. Our sentimental attachment to inherited pieces often means that we are loathe to sell them but equally can’t bear the thought of leaving them in a box that will end up at the back of a drawer, never to be seen again. Customization is a massive trend in the jewellery market at the minute. Dip into Liberty or Selfridges and you’ll soon come across the work of the UK’s most prolific and successful adapters of antique jewellery, Annina Vogel, whose incorporation of old jewels in contemporary, wearable pieces has captured the heart of many a celebrity and jewellery lover alike. There’s no reason why you too can’t be creative like Annina with your inherited rings, bangles, brooches and pins. The designers at Holts are well-practiced in helping clients decide how they might adapt their jewellery and there’s nothing better than creating something that holds sentimental value but also looks and feels great to wear. Give it a try. After all, we’ve been adapting jewellery throughout history… why stop now?