Heirloom Jewelry, Reimagined.

When you hear the word "heirloom" most people instantly go to jewelry in their head. It's one of the most common things to pass down, whether you have many treasures from your collection or not someone always wants the diamonds or pearls to carry on. 

They're timeless, classic but let's not forget the most important component to heirloom - they're meaningful pieces that have been passed down through the generations.

vintage brass beads from family heirloom jewelry / heirloomed

I've been talking a lot about jewelry this week, sharing my redo of a mechanics chest turned jewelry box and every now and then I give a peek inside my own jewelry box to share some of the treasures that have been passed down to me. I have even started including just a few pieces of jewelry in our Vintage Goods assortment.

Today I'm sharing an amazing collaboration with designer Emily Maynard of Elva Fields, and I couldn't be more excited. Her business, like mine, was inspired by the generations of her family which is present in everything from her brand name to each of her collections, and even her studio location in Louisville, KY has a tie to her family history.

Another thing that instantly drew me to Elva Fields, beyond the gorgeousness of the jewelry itself was the very apparent inspiration of vintage designs and use of vintage materials. And you'll see why here in a second ....

heirloom jewelry by elva fields / heirloomed
vintage jewelry elva fields / heirloomed
brass beads + gold necklace / heirloomed

Through the collaboration, Emily included me as part of her wonderful "Leading Ladies Series" that asks the question we all love to hear, What's in your Jewelry Box? Emily took this question one step further and turned it into an actual product (that you're going to love). 

What's in your Jewelry Box is a new program where you scour through your own box, searching for parts and pieces of jewelry that perhaps you never wear or has been damaged in some way and needs a little freshening up design wise. Can't find anything? Not to worry, you can always hit up your local thrift store or Emily can even suggest or source some pieces for you.

I was fortunate to have quite a few options to choose from, including a bundle of brass beads from my Mother's necklace that was broken many years ago, a broach from my Grandmother, and parts from an emerald green cocktail necklace that was my Great Grandmothers by had broken at some point over the years. I shipped them off to Elva Fields to take a look and work some magic.

You can scroll through part of the design process below to see the pieces I sent and how Emily took these, combined new elements and literally transformed them before my eyes. I cannot get over the design work.

I could hardly choose which direction to go from the initial first-round designs she sent over because each of them was fabulous and also so special to see these otherwise forgotten treasures brought back to life. And in such a current way.

The design I ended up choosing was one I think I'll wear the most, using the brass beads Emily combined other mixed metals in similar hues with hints of gold and other metallics. I love the selection of beads she paired with my originals and how she thoughtfully mixed the shapes and sizes. The biggest surprise to me was the gold chain she chose for the neck, unexpected and the perfect hint of vintage. I am in love.

I also love how she transformed the length of the necklace to be perfectly placed. What she didn't know was this bundle of broken beads was once a cluster necklace that sat rather tightly around your neck in a twisty kind of way. I loved the originally necklace and I love what it has become today.

vintage necklace detail / elva fields / heirloomed
elva fields necklace jewelry / heirloomed

I so highly recommend you pop over and check out the details of What's in your Jewelry Box and give it a try for yourself. I'd LOVE to see what heirloom pieces you are sending in to be transformed!

I asked Emily to share more about her inspiration behind her designs and the new WIYJB program and I love what she had to say ...

"Because we incorporate vintage and antique materials in our designs, they have an heirloom quality about them. Our customers would often remark that their grandmother had a similar brooch they remembered from childhood or that they now owned a set of beads from their great aunt  just like those featured in one of our necklaces, and they'd occasionally lament that they never seemed to find a way to wear and enjoy the inherited jewelry.

Though the pieces weren't inherently valuable (being costume) they held deep sentimental value, and it seemed such a shame that they were left unworn in a jewelry box somewhere.  I was given my great-grandmother Elva Fields's jewelry box some years ago, and in sorting through and sharing some of the jewelry with my daughters, it occurred to me that we could help our customers enjoy their forgotten treasures in a fresh and fun way by featuring them in a new design--out of the jewelry box and into their present-day life!"


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heirloomed is a lifestyle brand with a mission of "keeping heirlooms around for another generation." Our blog features stories about family recipes, creating traditions with your family, interior design and entertaining by mixing new and vintage pieces, classic style, and small town + historic travel. Our shop features a collection of "goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy" with an array of products and meaningful gifts including linen apronstabletop linensartceramics and beyond. Learn more at www.heirloomedcollection.com

 

 

How To : Turn a Vintage Mechanics Tool Box into a Jewelry Chest.

One of my top rules when antique shopping is to keep your eyes peeled for pieces that speak to you. If you fall in love with a piece for some reason, sometimes you just know it needs to come home with you. Trusting your gut is a big part of truly finding treasures while you're out at antique stores or sifting through vintage shops.

On a recent trip to Cashiers, NC I came across a true gem of a shop, an antique hardware shop that was housed in a drafty barn literally carved into the side of a windy mountain road. I spotted it on the way up the mountain as we started our trip, and decided I just had to stop in on my way home. So glad I did.

vintage mechanics tool box

Among the many things I picked up at the shop, and the many others I sadly left behind, I spotted this vintage mechanics tool box. It was situated on a table near the front of the store, a single room with a tin roof that was much wider than it was deep. I stopped to examine it my first loop around the shop, opening each of the drawers in the chest and giving it a good once over before moving along.

As I shop antique markets and shops I usually snap a quick photo on my phone of pieces I am kind of interested in so before I leave I do a quick swipe through all my photos to make sure I'm not leaving anything amazing behind. I have a terrible memory so this helps with this little issue but it also helps on items the are too large or heavy for me to carry around while I'm still looking and also for making a good assortment for my final buys, because let's be honest I just can't bring *everything* home.

antique hardware store in North Carolina

So, after making my final rounds I decided this was one piece I just had to have and I knew exactly what I was going to do with it. You see, finding these treasures is just one part of the process. Sometimes you have to get creative about what you're actually going to do with them, giving them a new life and story of their own once you bring them home. 

I've been needing a place to store my jewelry for some time, as long as I can remember really. I had a small chest on my dresser just for small pieces but was in need of something that could organize my go-to and special jewelry that would allow me to see everything and easily sort through it to find what I needed. 

And so, I brought it home.

vintage jewelry chest
vintage estate jewelry box / heirloomed

I love the little details of the chest, a great size with little brass rings that encompass the drawer pulls, a strong metal handle and corners. Different size drawers make this great for jewelry as some art longer and shorter, deeper and more shallow. Something that probably made it great as a mechanics tool chest as well.

Luckily the pieces didn't need much in the way of repairs, aside from some new felt to line the drawers which had been worn from years of housing tools. I opted for a charcoal grey instead of the emerald green that graced the original lining. It's a little musty and I'm still working on that one a bit. Now that it had found a home on my dresser, it was time to fill it up.

vintage jewelry drawer / heriloomed

The number of drawers was perfect for what I needed and I even found a few pieces of jewelry I had forgotten about for awhile. In the end everything was neatly sorted, everyday pieces to costume jewels and even the most special heirloom treasures I own, like my Grandfather's wedding ring and a few vintage brooches + bangles from my Grandmother.

I even left in two of the original tools that were stashed in the drawers when I bought it. Just for good measure and so this piece could keep a little part of its own roots.

vintage jewelry tool chest / heirloomed
vintage ring / heirloomed
vintage jewelry box / heirloomed
grandmothers vintage brooch / heirloomed

I love sharing the journey of these vintage pieces that I find and hope you enjoy them too.  Giving new ideas for how to use old pieces, in a current + purposeful way is all part of the circle of life when you're out sourcing antique goods. 

I'd love to know what heirloom pieces you're struggling to find a new use for or hear your own ideas for how you're creatively using a vintage piece of your own. #HEIRLOOMED

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heirloomed is a lifestyle brand with a mission of "keeping heirlooms around for another generation." Our blog features stories about family recipes, creating traditions with your family, interior design and entertaining by mixing new and vintage pieces, classic style, and small town + historic travel. Our shop features a collection of "goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy" with an array of products and meaningful gifts including linen apronstabletop linensartceramics and beyond. Learn more at www.heirloomedcollection.com