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Adapting Vintage Charms to a Pandora Charm Bracelet

Diane is a lover of all things beautiful; music, art, antiques and nature. Her guides bring insight to topics she cares passionately about.


Your Favorite Vintage Charms are Not Obsolete

If you love vintage charms and charm bracelets and worry that your beloved charms are now obsolete, with the introduction of Pandora charm bracelets, never fear. There is an easy way to adapt your gold and sterling charms for use on a Pandora Bracelet. I'll show you how do it yourself or where to go to get it done for you. I'll also share with you other delightful things you can use as charms for Pandora bracelets.

This is my Pandora bracelet. It holds many of my favorite charms that I've adapted to fit Pandora. I makes my Pandora bracelet feel a little bit more like..."me".

All Photos by Diane Cass

My Butterfly Charm adapted to my Pandora bracelet. Photo by Diane Cass

My Butterfly Charm adapted to my Pandora bracelet. Photo by Diane Cass

How to Adapt Your Vintage Charms

Adapting your favorite vintage charms is easy, if you have the proper tools. By making a few jump rings, your charms will be able to hang on Pandora's cable-like bracelet. Here is what you will need.

18 - 20 gauge sterling silver wire

Round Nose Pliers (optional)

Side Wire Cutters

1/4" diameter crochet hook (size J), knitting needle, wooden dowel, metal rod or chipstick

Fine Metal Nail File

1 - Holding one end of the wire in place next to your stick, wrap your sterling silver wire around it, making a 1" section. of tightly coiled wire

2 - Remove the wire from the stick

3 - Snip rings off of wrapped section, one at a time with the wire cutters

4 - File ends of each ring until smooth and no sharp edges remain

See the video below for a demonstration of how to do this. .

Stuff You Might Need For This Project

Making Sterling Silver Jump Rings the Easy Way

This is a good, clear demonstration of jump ring making.

Hardening Sterling Silver Jump Rings

Newly made sterling silver jump rings are too soft to use in jewelry. They will easily pull apart. You can avoid this, and the loss of your treasured charms by hardening the jump rings. Hardening happens when metal is beaten. You don't want to distort the rings though, so the best way to do this is with a tumbler and small steel shot. The video below demonstrates how easy this is.

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Soldering Jump Rings

Jump Rings, unsoldered, can catch on clothing and pull open. You can avoid this by soldering them closed after you place them on your charm. Use a little silver paste and a blow torch, while holding the ring with some long nosed pliers. This video demonstrates how easy it is to protect your charms by soldering the jump rings closed.

Things You Might Need for Soldering

Vintage charms for Pandora bracelets photo by Diane Cass

Vintage charms for Pandora bracelets photo by Diane Cass

Other Things You Can Use for Pandora Charms

Do you have single earrings without their mates? Small pendants you don't wear anymore, but still like? Why not make them into charms for your Pandora bracelet?

Many of the charms on my bracelet are single earrings, like the little smoky quartz in the picture. The turquoise charm was a small pendant. I enjoy finding new ways to use old things. I hate to see them fall into disuse or worse...get thrown away.

Make jump rings to add them to your Pandora charm bracelet, or if yout don't feel crafty, take them to your local jeweler and have them make the rings for you. I had my jeweler make some of mine. They were about $5 each, including the soldering.

Don't Want to Do This Yourself? No Problem.

Take the charms you want to add to your bracelet to a local jeweler who does custom work. They can create the silver rings you need for a reasonable price. My local jeweler charged me $5 each for materials and labor. That's very affordable if you only have a few charms to put on. Ask around to get the best price.

I've loved charm bracelets all of my life. Many people have a treasured bracelet that is a little story of their life; where they've been, what they did, who was important to them. Do you have a charm bracelet? If so, what is your favorite charm, and why? Does your bracelet have a theme?

Do You Have Old Favorite Vintage Charms

karMALZEKE on February 19, 2013:

You have made your bracelet very unique. Very original concept.

Georgene Moizuk Bramlage from southwestern Virginia on January 16, 2013:

Fantastic idea! A great way to use odd bits of jewelry , like one-of-akind earrings and pieces of old necklaces. I like to change the charms on my Pandora-type braclets with the seasons.

maryseena on December 03, 2012:

making your own Jewelry is a great way of self expression

Stephanie Tietjen from Albuquerque, New Mexico on December 01, 2012:

I love that you make your bracelet yours, it's one of a kind, and like you said it feels more you. Excellent

bossypants on November 25, 2012:

I think your idea is genius! Your Pandora bracelet looks more more interesting with the added texture and variety of vintage charms dangling from it! Terrific idea!

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on November 24, 2012:

I often admired friend's charm bracelets, but never had one myself. This is really special.

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