When Grandma Jennie was an Avon Lady, she sold costume jewelry in addition to beauty products. I remember her pretty displays of earring-and-necklace sets with seasonal themes, like russet leaves for fall and pastel flowers for spring. She even sold Santa Claus brooches and candy cane earrings.
I still have some pieces I got from her, including blue drop earrings, a Christmas bell pin, and a rhinestone butterfly pin that Grandma used to wear on her coat. I seldom wear the jewelry; instead, I display it — along with Mom’s rings and other sentimental pieces — in a jewelry organizer with clear pockets that I hang on my closet door.
But for costume jewelry that I don’t wear and that has no sentimental value, I like to donate it to Dress for Success. An inexpensive but tasteful set of earrings can lend polish to an interview suit. Or a small floral brooch can add a feminine touch to a stern blazer. Dress for Success typically accepts donations only on specific dates and times; call ahead to find out when your local affiliate accepts donations.
Another option for costume jewelry might be an old-fashioned dress-up activity for kids. “Exotic” earrings and necklaces can transform a child into a queen or an old-time movie star. A single earring could complete a gypsy or pirate outfit — leave it to your child’s imagination.
One of the prettiest uses for old costume jewelry is Victorian picture craft; imagine a framed picture created with old jewelry (even broken pieces) on a black velvet background. Typical shapes include bouquets of flowers, trees, or a woman’s elaborate hairstyle or dress. I saw this craft displayed at our local historical society, and it’s a craft that I would like to try. (It’s also a great way to reuse old picture frames.)
So, don’t throw out those unwanted pieces of costume jewelry. Instead, pass it along to someone who can use it, spark a child’s imagination, or use it to create a work of art!