A number of charity second hand shops in Edinburgh now sell very cheap jewellery in bags. The bags are made up of broken jewellery and items that haven't sold after a certain length of time in the shop. I've bought several of these bags and they offer excellent value in terms of finding the occasional nice item of jewllery for myself and in terms of finding good crafting supplies.
But it really does strike me that there's a lot of jewellery out there! I also know from running the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop that jewellery is a saturated market.
So I've also been thinking about other ways to use jewellery. I have several items in my Etsy shop that I made from broken jewellery, but which aren't jewellery themselves - this key ring for example, this windchime and these curtain ties.
But I've also been thinking about how you can repurpose jewellery without actually taking it apart, for instance this long fake pearl necklace makes a lovely curtan tie-back
I use odd earrings as Christmas tree decorations (I either leave them intact or I replace the earring hook with ribbon). I've recently got some necklaces that I hope will look nice draped over the Christmas tree next Christmas. You could use a beaded bracelet to decorate a candle or a small plant pot.
If jewellery is too damaged to be reused or repurposed, then you can send it to Alzheimer's Society, who can recycle it. Details here. The RSPB also collect broken jewellery but there is no information on their website - if you are a member then you'll sometimes get an envelope for recycling jewellery with the magazine mail out.
Have you any ideas for repurposing jewellery? Let me know in the comments section!