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From Jacksonville Beach, FL

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Want a new hobby? Collect and use flea market and yard sale jewelry

Part of my collection of vintage necklaces.  The hanger is a
great way to store them and display them as room decoration.

My favorite in this group is the white jaguar third from the
left.  I bought him in honor of the Jacksonville Jaguars football
team.  I must admit I've only displayed, not worn him.

  Saturday mornings at the flea market or a neighborhood yard sale, you will usually see a group of women crowded around a table searching through pieces of costume jewelry.  Some of it has a clasp or a stone missing, but some of it is whole and good.  When I'm one of those women, I buy what I like.  I don't necessarily have a purpose for any particular piece.  Sometimes I check for gold or silver markings, but finding a valuable piece is not the reason I'm looking.  
   The jewelry I take home may sit in a drawer for a few weeks, even months, but usually I can find a use for it.  This article is about my own flea market finds and what I did with some of them.  Once you start thinking of new and unusual ways to use the jewelry, collecting is creative and fun.  I also have two books that I turn to for ideas.  

  • Morgan, Binky.  Flea Market Jewelry, New Style from Old Treasures.  New York:        Sterling Publishing Co., 2001.
  • Bell, C. Jeanenne.  Answers to Questions about Old Jewelry, 1840-1950, 5th ed. Iola,      WI: Krause Publications, 1999.
                                          Using  Necklaces
Add color to a small lampshade
Decorate bric-a-brac

     Use a necklace as a curtain pull back

Using Pins
This is part of my pin collection.  My favorite in this group
is what I call the sheriff's star at the top right.  At one time or
the other, I've worn most of these rather than decorate with them.

              I like using pins on decorative pillows.  Here I've added pins
             depicting a dragonfly, butterfly, and fairy.  

                  Flower pin decoration for a bed pillow.

Here I've added a sparkly pin to a black evening purse.

                       Stick pins are great accessories on a jacket lapel, a 
                       cap or hat, a collar.

Using Earrings
  This is a very small part of my collection of old jewelry earrings.  Earrings can
be used in the same decorative ways that pins are used.  Mostly I wear mine.
Old earrings often have screw backs or clips.  The gold earrings in the middle
of the photo have magnets to hold them on.  Put the magnet on the back of the
ear lobe and it catches the metal on the earring back.  
My favorites in this grouping are the deep purple glass ones on the right.
They were originally screw on backs, but I changed them to wires because for
me with pierced ears, they are easier to use.  

                           This is my very favorite piece of vintage jewelry, but it
                           was not a flea market find, but a gift from my daughter .
                           It is an Art Deco cameo that she bought in London.

Happy hunting at flea markets and yard sales.  Finding old jewelry
is a very satisfying hobby.  I've also made new jewelry from some
of the old pieces.  That will be the subject of a future blog entry.

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