Hannah Goes Fishing

A Fishing (and more) Blog

Upcycling Idea Files: Jewelry Exchange

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A few months ago, a friend of a friend of a friend mentioned the idea of having a jewelry swap to help freshen up our jewelry wardrobes.  Normally I’m not much of one for hosting gatherings (I have host anxiety), nor am I much of one to dither on about jewelry for more than the 10 seconds it takes me to choose a pair of earrings on the mornings warm enough to wear them.  Still, the idea stuck with me and as my lifestyle moves more and more toward non-consumerism and trying to find ways to make things do, I figured it was finally time to try out an exchange.

So, this past week I set up the facebook invite, sent it out to some of my dearest female friends and a few new ones from this year, and waited with anticipation as the guest list slowly grew.  By Saturday, the cabin was clean, I had picked out the jewelry I was willing to part with, and eventually seven wonderful women made their way to my kitchen table.  I even tried out baking a lemon-coconut loaf that turned out to be a huge hit!  Yay!

A few of my new pieces!

Those things aside, I was absolutely dumbfounded by how much jewelry we had.  I’m kicking myself now for not taking any pictures, but my 2.5 X 4 foot table was completely covered with necklaces, earrings, bracelets, etc.  And we are not girly girls!  This group was definitely made up of women who might wear a pair of earrings from day to day, maybe a necklace, and perhaps a few rings (especially the married ladies), but that’s it!  No endless supplies of dangling diamonds or expensive pieces; and yet, here we all were with so much to share.  We were all pretty surprised.

To be brief, the exchange went wonderfully.  We each went around the table and picked out something we liked to keep, and the original owner shared it’s story.  The theme of the day seemed to be, “Well, I think a friend gave it to me…or maybe I bought it?  Yeah, I’m not sure where I got that.”  Just goes to show that even treasured items can eventually lose their value as our memories fade.

In the end, we all went home with a handful of fun, totally wearable pieces that will freshen up our collections. And we didn’t spend a single penny to get them!  True upcycling in its finest.  One guest even picked out some earrings that had lost their mates to turn them into wine glass charms.  Very cool.   The leftover jewelry that nobody particularly coveted was left with me to donate in my next trip to Value Village or Salvation Army.  I may also put some aside to give to my little sister through BBBS for her upcoming birthday.  Wins for everyone!

M and I both had a wonderful time swapping goods, and especially enjoying the company of other wonderful women.  We’ve decided we may try to do a Saturday morning event like this once a month, and in the future might try swapping books, clothes, shoes, recipes, seeds, dishes…the possibilities are endless!

What other upcycling exchange ideas would be fun and easy to do with small groups?  Share your ideas in the comments!


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