In In my closet, Style, Upcycling Projects

My Latest 5 DIY Upcycling Jewellery Projects – Part One


  1. River Rock Ring
  2. Ocean Statement Necklace
  3. Lavender Fields Necklace
  4. Mata Hari Necklace
  5. Circe Necklace

What is this?

I have decided in an attempt to stave off boredom and malaise from staying inside all the time, I am going to turn back into my wardrobe and my jewellery to upcycle items. There are pieces that I still like, and cannot give up from my jewellery box.

I like the feeling and the look of many of these pieces I am going to upcycle into something new as a statement piece, but there is something off about them, or they’re too boring, or they’re too simple for my likes these days.

#1 River Rock Ring (Adina Mills)

I bought this ring off Poshmark years ago (U.S. Poshmark), and I most certainly overpaid for it because it was an Adina Mills piece, and I knew her items sold for a couple hundred. I think I got it for $100 USD or around that, but I could have asked for a lot less (I didn’t know, I was a green Posher back then).

Anyway, I sort of liked how ugly it was, but as time went on, I realized I don’t wear it because it FEELS ugly. IT looks like a river rock, with a bit of green inside (which I like), but it just wasn’t glam enough.

A few quick paint swipes later, it looks more beautiful. Glammed up:

And much more wearable for my personal taste:


#2 Ocean Statement Necklace

I had findings in my jewellery box, and I mixed them up to give them a new lease on life. I was inspired first by the drusy rock circle pendant, and it reminded me of the ocean, so I came up with lots of blues and turqoises to blend into the colours and swirl them all together.

To get to this point, I first started with the pieces, arranging them this way and that until I came to this configuration that would evoke the feeling of rain or ocean drops falling from the teal drusy pendant itself:

Once I had it down, I taped down the pieces to avoid getting paint on them, and started painting:

Then I let it dry. I purposefully painted over the jump rings because I wanted that seamless look, not hooked together by gold rings:

Then I glued the drusy pendant onto the pieces, hooked everything together, added gold beads onto the holes to add dimension. I also started on the second necklace, knowing exactly what I wanted (similar but not exact):

It turned out great. It’s really a pretty statement piece.

#3 Lavender Fields Necklace

As I painted the first necklace, Little Bun came up with this mix on paper. which inspired me to create a similar palette with lavender, purple, blue and teal.

Turned out great. I may tweak it a little and add more magenta and navy blue, but for now, I like how it looks, especially popping against orange:

#4 The Mata Hari Necklace

I was playing around on the bed with Little Bun, coming up with ideas, and just mixing and matching things on the bed, imagining in my head what it might look like together.

I started with this necklace I got for free from a neighbour. She found it boring / not her style any more, and it wasn’t my style either, but I thought it would be an interesting piece one day, if I could figure out what to do with it.

Then, I played with the necklace, and took another one that I bought off Poshmark but never reach for (no idea why.. just doesn’t appeal to me versus other items), and I hooked it up to the bottom of the collar of the necklace, and a lightbulb went off. It sort of looked good together, like a ladder necklace!

I must admit, I was inspired by these pieces I saw on Pinterest from the Dries van Noten 2012 Spring Show. I liked the idea of a large collar, and a pendant hanging down, which I will eventually do one of these days as well:

So, I snapped a few links off the necklace, and hung it on the other one. As I was doing so, I realized how the BACK of the necklace without the colour looked fantastic, like an all gold piece, and I was pretty happy with it as is:

This is the ‘real’ side, if I wanted some colour. At this point, I contemplated painting the necklace in red or pink, to make it bright and colourful:

Then.. a lightbulb hit. Why not add a pendant in the middle as a focal point?

At first I considered just gluing the stone on the gold side, and having it look like this, because it looks SO PRETTY just as is.

Right? The problem is that if it is glued, I cannot remove it, and if I try to flip to use it to the other side with the colour, it is no longer a reversible piece. It’s simply a gold piece, and I can’t turn it around:

So I removed the links, and hooked the pendant in the middle instead, to keep it reversible:

The up close look:

Then like a magic trick, as nothing is glued, I flip to the other side and I get the coloured collared necklace, that showcases the rock, which is in a purple and lavender, which somehow goes nicely with the navy blue and turquoise:

I refrained from painting ANY of it because I think it looks great as all-gold on one side with a lavender rock, and then this colourful piece on the other side.


The gold side is admittedly my favourite. I didn’t think I could love these pieces again, in this way and upcycling them has really given them a new lease on life:

On the other side, I love that it adds so much colour to already colourful pieces, like a bohemian twist on pieces:

At the end, I named it The Mata Hari because I’ve decided to start naming these pieces after strong, interesting, individual women from history, either real or fictional. I really enjoyed this book on Mata Hari – Mata Hari’s Last Dance (Michelle Moran)

This book is historical fiction, based on real events and history, written in such a beautiful, engaging way. This necklace embodies Mata Hari for me, with its dual nature (reversible!), it’s kind of flamboyant, colourful side from having reinvented herself, and then on the other side in all gold, her glamour and mystique in charming the aristocrats to be under her spell. I can absolutely imagine her wearing a piece like this (on the all-gold side), with one of her costumes as she danced.

And if I get bored of it again (unlikely…), I can just remove the pieces and redo them again.

#5 The Circe Necklace

I was again, playing with some necklaces on the bed, and started at this necklace.

The chain is a bit twisted now and bent, and I liked the piece a lot when I bought it over 15 years ago, because of its simple, minimalist, geometric shape.. but it has since fallen out of favour in my jewellery wardrobe because it’s just so simple.

I then picked up this necklace with a bunch of stones, gifted to me a long time ago from another blog life, from an artisanal collective in the U.S., and I still love the light seafoam green stones, the chains, and the industrial look of it paired with the femininity of the stones… but again, too boring to wear alone.

I thought about wearing it as an ULTRA long necklace (it doubles in length if you want), but it didn’t look right. It wasn’t until I got this second necklace, and I put it over then under the first necklace, that the hamsters started turning in my head:

I could LAYER the pieces together, and add dimension to the look. It all came together when Little Bun handed me this pendant and told me how cute it was, in its pretty petal oval shape.

And I ended up with this as the final product. I had actually made the petal necklace a long hanging chain that went down to almost my belly button, but it looked too strange. I liked it but.. it was missing a LARGE long stone in its empty necklace gap.

I then got the bright idea to shorten it twice by looping it around itself underneath the necklace (yes, my thoughts immediately went to gluing the petal pendant to the second necklace), but I think this looks more interesting.

Now it looks fine just like that. But it is still a tiny bit too normal for me, as I have plenty of all-silver necklaces, spiky, with the same sort of style, and I decided I needed to tie in the seafoam green stones from the chain with the rest of the necklaces. The second necklace was VERY shiny and metallic silver. The third necklace is a brushed silver that isn’t as shiny. The metals didn’t seem to vibe together. I liked it, but it isn’t finished.

So.. I PAINTED IT. Of course I did.

I decided on a bright teal and magenta colour story (I had contemplated seafoam green but then thought it might be too dull as a colour palette), and the seafoam stones made me think of the ocean, which brought me to these teals and turquoises (and go well in my wardrobe palette):

Funny story, as I was painting it, I was feeling like something was off on the triangles. I didn’t like the messy way it spilled all over the necklace (even though that is my style). I tried painting all the triangles, just the tops, and then as I was cleaning everything off, it hit me.

I needed to just paint the bottom two triangles and leave the top completely shiny to contrast and show the geometric lines of it. So I quickly went back, and cleaned up the triangle at the top, and made it as shiny as possible, with clean, sharp lines.

I like it as is. If I ever want to, I can clean off ALL of the paint, and have it go back to the way it was, or repaint it to something else. Whatever I want.

The necklace doesn’t photograph as well, it shows it to be more blue than it really is. It’s actually got a tinge of that light greeny-teal in there, but it is hard to capture in a photo.

I decided to name it The Circe, after the book Circe (Madeline Miller)

This book talks about the minor goddess Circe – her life, her views.. and goodness it is a GOOD BOOK, and an excellent work of fiction. It is incredible, and I loved her independent spirit, her fight and just.. general badass-ery, if I can say that about a fictional character, overcoming her own troubles and adversity. It’s a FANTASTIC book.

The spiky triangles of the necklace, reflect her personality, nature and the way she was shaped, the seafoam green rocks with the chains, represent her time on the island, surrounded by the ocean but also isolated and chained in a way, and the petal pendant hanging down ties it all together, from start to finish. It’s representing Circe (for me), as I see her in my imagination.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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Posted on July 20, 2016

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  1. Maggie

    That was a really fun post!

  2. Anne

    Love the golden side of the Mata Hari necklace, it looks fabulous with the green top!

    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      The golden side is my favourite as well 🙂 I think it is more versatile but I can’t help but want to keep the other side free for outfits


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