'I get to preserve it': Business owner turns broken jewels into new masterpieces
TAMPA, Fla. - Julie Sullivan spends hours meticulously collaging old jewels onto a variety of objects. She runs Beautifully Broken Jules, and the name explains it all.
"I work with broken jewels, and my name is Julie," Julie Sullivan said with a smile.
The origins of her business are simple. Her best friend had a box of old jewelry destined for the trash, but Sullivan refused to throw them out and her friend suggested they "jewel" a W letter.
MADE IN TAMPA BAY: Bay Area baker turns macaron obsession into booming business
"That was the beginning, then I became obsessed," Sullivan said.
Sullivan sources her jewelry in many ways, but they are almost always used and many times broken. When she first gets them, she "frankensteins" them, breaking them down to smaller, base components.
"I like the fact that at some point someone wore this jewelry. All of the stories, it was special to them at some point," she said. "I get to preserve it, and that's bringing a memory or joy to whoever is looking at it every day."
What customers end up looking at varies, from size and shape, to common and uncommon. She said if she can glue onto it, it can be used.
MORE: Bold Notion Quilting owner finds passion in teaching others
A prime example is a Barbie toy convertible car – one of her favorite pieces. She has also jeweled photo frames, vintage cameras and candlestick holders. Letters are a common customer request.
"I do a lot of initials for nurseries, entryways," she explained.
She works with bigger jewels first, then filling out the piece with smaller ones. A flat surface takes a couple days, while an odd surface can take several days, because the glue needs to dry in stages.
"It's very calming. It's like meditation," Sullivan said.
For more information on Beautifully Broken Jules, visit beautifullybrokenjules.com.