Memory wire bracelets became popular in the 1960s, when 'shape-memory alloy' entered the market. Like many great things, it was discovered by accident by the U.S. Naval Ordnance Laboratory, and jewellery makers (and auto makers, bridge builders, and eyeglass designers) have been using it since.
Last month, picking through antique stalls in Athens, I realised that the neon I've been loving all spring and summer could be replaced by vintage wood, turquoise, and coral beads for autumn and winter. I found a few treasures, and headed home. Yes, I thought. I could hang my hat on a collection of vintage beads and pearls.
Last week in Glenwood, Minnesota, while visiting my mother, I stumbled upon a vintage wood bead memory wire bracelet at a local antique shop. It was fabulous! I bought it, took off all the beads, and remade it with a few pearls. A clasp-free wrap bracelet that wouldn't eventually break. Yes!
Malachite and pearls will be coming next, made from a necklace my mother bought in Czechloslovakia in the '60s. Then I'm making a cork and pearl bracelet from a necklace from the '70s. For those visiting warm climates this winter, there will be a shell bracelet from the '80s. Why yes, I'm sure you could wear it as an anklet!