New Wearable Heirlooms

Dora Mae Custom Earrings | www.ashleybrookedesigns.com
Dora Mae Custom Earrings | www.ashleybrookedesigns.com

Repurposing Vintage Jewelry

Back in January, a local jewelry designer and now good friend, Ansley, of Dora Mae reached out to me to see if I might be interested in helping her film a short video for her website. I’d heard nothing but amazing things about Ansley’s creations and been dying to stop by to see them for myself, so of course I said yes!

Ansley is known for infusing her trademark boho glam style into everything she does.  Now that I know her and her stunning work, I can spot a Dora Mae piece from a mile away!

One of the many things that make her collection special is the way she repurposes old, tired bits and baubles and turns them into something both modern and wearable for today. I got to witness the process from start to finish.

J.Crew Sweater (sold out, similar here) // Ann Taylor Skirt (similar here) // ASOS bag (similar here) // Steve Madden Shoes // Larsson & Jennings Watch // Custom Dora Mae Earrings // Elizabeth Arden Lipstick in “Power Red” 

classic sweater

shop

silk skirt

shop

gold crossbody bag

shop

nude sandals

shop

My Great Grandmother's Earrings

Before our video shoot, Ansley asked me to dig up some jewels that I might want to repurpose.  The moment her e-mail came through I knew exactly which pieces I wanted to bring!

My Great Grandmother was an accessories gal.  I never saw her without a swipe of bright lipstick and dripping in jewels. She always sparkled with gems from her ears to her wrists, never leaving the house without a pound or two of costume jewelry! She was FANCY. And when she passed away, all the women in our family got a handful of pieces from her extravagant collection.

Before – The Original Heirlooms

Dora Mae - Custom Piece Before - Ashley Brooke - wb

This cuff and earring set was always my favorite of hers. The colors seemed to go with everything she wore and I’ve always loved the idea of wearing them around. 

But there were a few problems with that. Not only did the pieces need a good buff and shine, but they were also fairly hard to wear.

The cuff was too bulky  on my wrist and would constantly rotate upside down, leaving it clasp side up. The earrings were heavy clip-ons. I wore them a few times, but never longer than about an hour before my ears would start throbbing. But I knew they had potential! 

I told my mom and grandmother about the project and the both of them were on board with me making them wearable, so off to Dora Mae, I went! 

After – New and Beautiful!

The design process was so much fun! Ansley loved the pieces and instantly started brainstorming ideas on what we could do. I originally thought she would just put a post on the earrings and “fix” the bracelet, but she went a few steps further and I’m so glad she did! 

She decided to take the leaves and gemstone off the bracelet and turn it into a necklace. I loved the idea and knew my mom would FLIP! She then started playing with he earrings and after a few suggestions, we landed on mounting them to a decorative piece and making them more of a statement. 

Once we decided on the designs she told me that she’d call once they pieces were ready for pick up.  So I left the store that day feeling both nervous and excited to see the final product!

I brought my mom with me to pick up the pieces once they were finished, which made it an extra fun afternoon! My mom and I were both OVER THE MOON with the finished pieces and put them on as soon as we had them in our hands.

My mom let me keep the earrings and she kept the necklace.  We both wear them ALL the time. They are by far my favorite earrings I own and I’m so glad we decided to give them new life! 

Dora Mae - Custom Piece - Ashley Brooke -v

I can’t believe that just a few moths ago these pieces were sitting in a box gathering dust and now they are both mine and my mom’s favorite accessories! If you are like me and have a box of old baubles just sitting around, you may want to open it and see what kind of magic you can make happen… you just never know! 😉 

2 Comments

  1. Chelsey
    October 10, 2018 / 8:28 am

    I love this! My Mimi is the same way with jewelry and I know she wants to hand down pieces to me, so this would be a great way to keep the memory while also updating it to be worn more often! Much better than just sitting in a jewelry box unused!

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