Tag Archive | upcycling

Upcycling – waste not want not

Upcycling has been something of a fashion in some circles for a while, but what is it?  On the face of it upcycling is simply making one new item out of one or more old items, and when it comes to jewellery this opens some really exciting prospects.

Upcycled jewellery ranges from that made by salvaging older unwanted or broken items of jewellery, such as these examples from one of my current favourites The Upcycle Jewellery Company:

Upcycle Bee

tinkerbell upcycle

But it often goes further – some of the most interesting pieces of upcycling we have seen are when jewellery is created from items that didn’t start out as jewellery:

This makes me smile because I had one of these at school...I would definitely get more use out of it as a piece of jewellery

This makes me smile because I had one of these at school…I would definitely get more use out of it as a piece of jewellery

…and if you’ve ever wondered what to do with those old keys you have loitering you definitely need to look at the Upcycle Jewellery Co website for inspiration!

These fabulous earrings by Urban Raven, who has some really creative uses for what some might think of as junk, are made from old Israeli telephone tokens:

upcycle urban raven

We also love her use of stamps, what a great way to make a unique and personalised piece of jewellery!

 stamp ring urban raven 

As a bit of a button fiend myself I was delighted to find Button Jewellery with their delicate yet eyecatching approach to jewellery

Bright rainbow button necklace

Including a fab way to #bringbackthebrooch:

Terracotta, Orange and Mustard Button Brooch

From the maker of the above also comes Unexpected Boutique with some serious statement necklaces!

beachcomber-necklace-2a   safety-pin-necklace-bust-new



Whilst these pieces look great they also are almost always pretty unique; even if you’re buying something from a maker who regularly makes the same or similar items they are ALWAYS going to be just a little bit different from the next piece, as is the joy of upcycling.  It’s also such a great way to remember that your junk can become something beautiful too, so maybe think on before you chuck it away!


We always love to hear from makers of unusual and upcycled pieces, do get in touch if you would like to feature on the blog!



Remembrance Day – is it time to upgrade your poppy?

Ok so maybe the title doesn’t say it all, but as Remembrance Day approaches we wanted to tell you how you could support the excellent work of the Royal British Legion.  The Royal British Legion is the nation’s “custodian of remembrance” as well as doing impressive work to support existing and former members of the armed forces and their families.

Like me you may only start thinking about Remembrance Day once the poppies start appearing on your local high street or station, for a number of years now I have sought out the poppy pin badges which vary from year to year as a more permanent way of commemorating the annual events, as I find I can get away with wearing them for many months whereas my paper poppy seems to cause me nothing but trouble (I am too incompetent to manage to pin one on so they tend to loiter around buttonholes…)

It may seem a little early, but I want to give you the chance to explore what alternative ways of supporting the cause are on offer, particularly in this year, the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.

Poppies have moved on a lot in recent years, and I’m not just talking pin badges and ceramic poppies at the Tower of London.  There’s an entire site dedicated to the poppy related accouterments produced in support of the Royal British Legion, from umbrellas to stationary, and (unsurprisingly since we’re talking about it on this blog!) jewellery.

The jewellery collections from the Poppy Shop span several ranges, and the variety available is immense, here are a few of our favourite items:

The real flower poppy heart range comprises a bangle, earrings and necklace made from real miniature poppies – we like these because the use of real flowers really interesting, it’s a trend that is becoming more and more popular and the variation of having a heart shaped feature on these is really nice.  It’s also a really nice way to wear the poppy, but would be suitable for the whole year round.



If you’re not such a fan of the heart they do similar designs in an oval shape on the website.


There are fabulous long drop earrings from the Falling Poppy collection,  they were created by British Royal Warrant holders, Toye, Kenning & Spencer, and at £10.49 they are an absolute bargain.  The matching necklace is under a tenner!  For a slightly more dramatic look though, we love the Poppy Cascade collection, these feature a similar design of poppy clustered with a silver poppy and an oak leaf.  Also created by Toye, Kenning and Spencer these have a longer drop (6cm) and are a real feature for any wardrobe.

 Falling necklace  Falling Earrings

For a more traditional approach to the poppy how about a Union Flag inspired poppy brooch.  You know we love a brooch and the personality in this one really shines out.


Finally a special mention for these First World War poppy cufflinks, because these really are an amazing piece of art.  To quote the website “they have been created from the solid brass of original artillery shell fuses found on First World War battlefields. The shells have been melted down and cast, using the traditional ‘lost wax’ method in which each and every poppy requires a wax version, into a hand sculpted poppy design.

The design is based on a 100 year old dried and flattened real poppy from Private Len Smith’s diary – Private Smith, a veteran who lived until 1974, plucked the poppy from No Man’s Land in 1915 and preserved it in his illustrated diary.”  There’s no point me trying to say anything as this speaks for itself – the ultimate form of upcycling, what a great way to Remember.  Additionally these are a beautiful, practical item which is sure to be good value for money at £79.99.

Poppy cufflinks

On the topic of cufflinks, do have a look at the fabulous spitfire cufflinks made from an actual spitfire…I kid you not, they are amazing.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this post, please do remember the purpose behind Remembrance Day and bear in mind that the Poppy Shop is the official online store for the Royal British Legion, all profits go to support the charity.  Delivery charges may apply, please see the website for details.



Getting to know us – Victoria Arslan-Ward

What’s your favourite item in your jewellery box?

It’s so hard to choose, can I have more than 1?  Ok my favourite item is my Tiffany bracelet.  Whilst I LOVE Tiffany it’s a really atypical Tiffany piece, it’s understated and very simple, practical but the square chain design is unusual, If you didn’t know you wouldn’t think it was Tiffany, I absolutely love it, it was a gift so has huge sentimental value, as well as reminding me of the bracelet my mum used to wear when I was a child (I don’t know why – that was gold, with circular links…but hey).  It’s one of the few things I wear 24/7, I can sleep in it and party in it, perfect (not that I party much you understand, but in theory…)

Tiffany bracelet

What are you wearing today?

Today is Sunday so I am sitting at home doing nothing exciting, I am wearing my Tiffany bracelet (see above), my wedding ring (see below) and tiny little diamante earrings in my second ear-piercing.  Practical jewellery is essential when looking after a baby, as are things that he can’t pull off or damage by chewing!  These are the bare minimum for me, I wear them all the time and I hope to replace the earrings with real diamonds one day!

Wedding rings

White gold or yellow gold?

Neither (unless it’s my engagement ring which is white gold…and constantly needs re-plating 😦 )

Who’s your favourite jewellery designer today?

Today I’m still caught up with a recent trip to the British Museum where I fell in love with some upcycled jewellery by Louise Pringle (or www.eclecticshock.net).  Note to self: trips to museums are NOT an opportunity to shop…

What’s your jewellery style?

I like chunky large pieces of statement jewellery, but I’m very small so can’t really get away with them as they tend to wear me, so in reality simple and classic, I like clean lines and soft corners but I do love colour in my jewellery.

How did you become interested in jewellery?

I like shiny things generally, I like shopping.  I met Deborah; the rest is history.

Favourite holiday destination?

I love Singapore, the food, the lack of chewing gum, the airlines.

What is your favourite gemstone and why?

I think Morganite at the moment, I love the delicate shades of pink/peach and I find the whole Beryl family fascinating, such a range of beautiful colours.  The only loose gemstone I have ever bought was a Morganite and one day I’m going to have it set into a beautiful ring.  Although having said that I recently discovered purple turquoise, I love the beauty and individuality of gems where you can visibly see the inclusions and effects of nature, amazing.

What was your last jewellery purchase?

A smokey quartz ring, I’ve bought a couple of quartz items recently, I think the colours are fab and it’s such an affordable gem.