We all have them: Those pieces of jewelry tucked into the back corners of our jewelry boxes, too broken to wear but too pretty to throw out. This Bohemian leather cuff bracelet gives one old brooch new life as the focal point of a perfect summer jewelry piece. And creating this one of a kind bracelet is much easier than it looks!
- Broken brooch, pendant, or other large jewelry fragment
- Bracelet base – I used two of these leather bracelets
- 6mm Faux Turquoise Beads and Jewelry Adhesive of your choice (for fixing missing stones)
- 4mm Antique Gold Flower Spacer Beads
- 2.5mm Round White Pearls
- Beadalon Wildfire beading thread
- Beading needles
- Coordinating Jewelry Wire – I used Gold 7 Strand Nylon Coated Flexible Wire
- 4mm Antique gold jump rings
- Antique brass chain
- E-6000 adhesive
Pick a brooch, pendant, clip earring, or other piece of vintage jewelry that’s interesting enough to have new life as a focal point in a bracelet. I selected this piece that featured faux turquoise and pearls in an ornate antique gold/brass setting:
The first thing this piece needed was new center stone for that empty setting. I used a 6mm turquoise bead, carefully sited to hide the bead hole, as a replacement.
I don’t use leather bracelet bases very often, and working around unique focal components can be a little tricky, too. So I decided that it would be a good idea to lay out my design ideas first. I finally decided on a combination of pearl beads, antique metal spacer beads, and antique brass chain:
I decided that the best way to approach the work was to start with the outside rows of beading. I knew from my layout that I needed to keep the middle 5 holes in each bracelet clear, to have enough room for the brooch. The other 14 would be beaded. I absolutely love the way using those little flower spacer beads echoes the settings of the seed pearls in the old pin–it’s one of those little details that really ties the new and old parts of the bracelet together!
These faux-set pearls were easy to create, too. You simply pull your needle and beading thread up through the spacer bead, put it through the pearl, and then go back down through the same spacer bead:
Once my beading was done, it was time to attach the vintage component as my focal point. The brooch had no hardware left on the back, but the open spaces on the rear plate gave ample opportunity for attachment. (If it had not, I would have had to add a few bails or similar hardware.) I used nylon-coated gold wire, woven strategically through both the pin and the leather bracelet, to secure the pin to the bracelet:
As a side note, the gold wire looks very bright in all of my photos for some reason. In real life, you don’t even notice it–but if this is something that would bother you, you could always use a clear jelly cord instead of the wire.
Finishing up the bracelet from this point on was a snap. First I attached a jump ring to both sides of the brooch, simply using my fingers to twist each one open:
Then I added my length of chain to the jump ring and twisted it closed. Two more jump rings were attached to the other end of the chain. The idea was to attach each jump ring to one of the leather bracelets using the last existing hole in each line.
I actually changed my design a little bit at this point, however, because my initial plan (below, left) resulted in more slack in the chain than I wanted. So I reopened the jump rings and attached them to the fourth link in the chain instead, removing the fifth link with a pair of jewelry pliers. I then turned that last link 90 degrees and attached it to the same two jump rings to make a little decorative end for my chain:
Much better! The jump rings help to hold the two separate bracelets together, giving the effect of one large cuff with the pretty vintage pin providing a great focal point in the middle:
Once I know that I am not going to embellish this bracelet any further, I will also attach a piece of ribbon or felt to the back of the bracelet. This will hide my ugly needlework, keep the thread safe from snags, and also help to hold the 2 pieces of leather bracelet together.
Until then, I’m going to wear and enjoy the bracelet… and be happy that this pretty vintage jewelry component has escaped the back of the jewelry box!
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Content Manager for ConsumerCrafts by day, enthusiastic trash picker, gardener and DIY crafter by night! Most of my projects are inspired by my love of vintage jewelry – or the challenge of finding creative new uses for materials.
When I grow up, I want to be MacGuyver.