Tuesday, 19 December 2017

New life for old earrings

This evening I set to replace a necklace clasp that broke as I was putting it on. Gotta love when that happens to your favourite piece and you're late because you can't find your cardigan and your cats decide to have a poop marathon at the exact moment you're getting out of the house? Anyway, as I took a look at my "to fix" shelf to get the broken necklace I came across this forgotten pair of earrings with gross green stuff on it. No, it's not the lighting. They were cheap and I could have thrown them away but I used to really like them before the stains and they have a pleasant weight. Raise your hand if you're a weirdo like me who likes heavy earrings!
So as long as I was getting the pliers and wire out, I figured why not revamp these a little as well?

My first impulse was to paint the stained parts and call it a day, but a quick online search revealed the green thing is called verdigris and can be cleaned with any household acid. It's an oxide that forms when the copper used in cheap jewellery is exposed to the air. I usually coat earring or pendant backs with nail polish to prevent that, but I guess I never did it for this pair. In the time they were left neglected, verdigris spread all over. I poured a bit of bottled lemon concentrate into a lid and used Q-tips, then my nails to rub away the stains. Many sources recommend soaking the affected jewellery in your acid of choice for 20 minutes, but mine had rhinestones and glue, so I just scrubbed the surface. It still came off pretty easily.

Clean on the left, yucky on the right

I didn't worry about the bead cap or the wire holding the pearl because I wanted to change those ayway. All the scrubbing caused more silver coating to rub off.

That's okay, most of the coppery areas aren't visible, but I used silver nail polish to mask some of it. I don't have any pictures of it, you can get a glimpse of what it looks like on the tip of the spike in the next photo.

I looked in my bead stash for something similar in size to the glass pearls and found some 10mm rondelles from a friend's broken bracelet. I also wanted fancier bead caps.

The key to making or customizing jewellery is to have a bunch of odds and ends to choose from!

I settled on this combination. The beads are a sort of anthracite colour, almost black but not really.

I cut the loops holding the old beads and reassembled the earrings with a new piece of wire. This is my result:

My loops aren't usually so crooked but if you ever tried to loop wire around rondelles or large beads you know how unforgiving they are... Well, the goal was to keep the top part neat and I managed that.

The last thing I did after this photo was to cover most of the metal with nail polish and replace the backings because one was wobbly.
And now it's like I have a new pair of earrings!

Do you often fix or tweak broken or unloved jewellery? Share in the comments!
Blackkitty (^^)~


  1. Sweet earrings. Sometimes, I'll make one thing. Decide that I don't really like it after a while. Then, take it apart and use it for something else.

  2. Thank you! Yes, I do that too. That's why I prefer beads and wire/string as opposed to "permanent" forms of jewellery making :D

  3. wow those look as good as new!!! I have green stuff like that on the spikes on a dog collar I have. I'm totally going try that.

  4. Those skulls were too cool to not save, and the "new" earrings look even nicer than what you started with! Very inspiring fix ^^

    1. Thanks! I wear them pretty much everyday now.


Comments are open to everyone and subject to moderation. Play nice (^^)~