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Creating heirlooms


Many of us are left pieces of jewellery when a loved one dies, but it may not always be to our taste. Pretty Old Vintage specialises in breathing new life into old heirlooms – so they can be worn on special occasions or simply treasured as a tangible reminder of their loved one. Claire Gardner explains why she launched her business.


ease the pain. I decided to combine my love of all things vintage by up-cycling pre-loved brooches, pearls and earrings and transforming them into unique pieces of jewellery. I started making rings from old clip-on earrings, hanging old keys from necklaces and making bracelets from vintage earrings and brooches. I loved the thought that these pieces had once been worn with pride by somebody in the past and that I was giving the piece a new lease of life. This started off as a hobby but I then started doing vintage markets and fairs


W


hen my mum passed away in 2005, I felt unable to cope with the grief and loss so I searched desperately for something to


in Surrey, which meant my lovingly-made jewellery was reaching a wider audience. Before long, I was being asked to make heirloom jewellery - which could be a late grandmother’s pearls and brooch being turned into a stunning bracelet for a granddaughter’s wedding or some vintage brooches, carefully arranged to form a unique headband for any special occasion. What underpins heirloom jewellery in


particular is the essence of the loved one that has passed away living on through the jewellery that I make. A broken string of pearls is combined with the beautiful clasp of another necklace or a pretty brooch, given some gentle cleaning, is transformed into a bracelet that can be worn forever with the knowledge that


the relative to whom it once belonged is close to you. When a loved one dies, their memory


stays with the family and friends in the form of the thoughts they have of that person, but sometimes a more tangible form of remembrance is needed. Plaques, headstones and memorials are all part of this. Whatever your beliefs may be, a tangible reminder can be most helpful, giving a spiritual essence to the memory of the person concerned. In this day and age there are wonderful


pieces of jewellery made from platinum, gold, and silver, with precious stone sets, which are old and new and represent a family’s history, a recent gift or a treasured heirloom. Not all of us have such high priced items,


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Farewell Magazine


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