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The Cost of Jewelry

When you look at a piece of jewelry, say a diamond ring, you are struck first by its beauty – the precision of its angles, the way the light plays off its cut – its implications, and its cost.

Rarely does the first impression invoke questions of the ring’s extensive environmental cost, of which often the debt cannot be repaid.

Should you consider the past of a piece of jewelry, you are confronted with the baggage of each material.

For every strand of man made pearls, a mussel has had foreign matter inserted into its valves through a human induced incision; and every golden hook or silver chain the result of commercial mining that repays the surrounding area with soil erosion, dust and noise pollution, water contamination, and loss of the local biodiversity.

But there’s hardly any need for such destructive practices, as we have more than enough jewelry to bedazzle the entire population.

And abound with an assortment of antique shops and a renewed interest in vintage styles, we have easy access to this jewelry.

Buying older items doesn’t mean that you’re restricted to old-fashioned styles. Despite all appearances, antique rings are not set in stone, at least not when it comes to their design. Vintage and antique rings can be altered and customized to meet your current needs or wishes. In addition to customization, many local jewelers offer services that can preserve or repair the jewelry you already own, including family heirlooms. Enabling you to incorporate your heritage into your daily garb.

Vintage jewelry makes a memorable gift as well.  If you have any reservations about gifting loved ones with a ‘used’ item, you needn’t worry. Whether or not you have the piece altered, when you give someone a piece of vintage jewelry, you are presenting them with a truly unique item that is rich in history and quality. Making it much more special than the mass produced jewelry that can be found at any store selling apparel and accessories of inferior quality.

In addition to buying vintage or antique jewelry, you can make your own accessories by up-cycling vintage or used items. Once you have suitable finds, there is little limit to how creative you can get with an object.

Ornaments, for example, can dangle just as well from your ear as they can a Christmas tree, and make dashing earrings, just be sure to swap the ornament hooks for earring hooks complete with a way to fasten them.

Pendants and statement pieces can be crafted from nearly any object – pocket watches, typewriter keys, compasses, buttons, brooches, tassels, and skeleton keys are all eye catching suitors. Some may be attractive enough to sit on a chain by themselves, without any other adornment to detract from them.

If you’d an alternative to beaded or pearl necklaces, old marbles make colorful glass beads when you drill a hole through them for threading. Marbles can be strung to make a strand or used as decorative additions to other accessories, including knitwear and loosely crocheted scarves and hats.

With all the existing materials at your creative disposal, it is easier to be resourceful and better define your style.

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