Costume jewelry Christmas trees — 17 glittery glamorous photos


I saw my first framed vintage costume jewelry Christmas tree — pearls, rhinestones, brooches, earrings, bracelets, charms and pins all artfully arranged and glued onto black velvet — about 10 years ago when I visited my Dad’s hometown of Aneta, North Dakota. It was still hanging in the living room of an old friend of the family, who had made it decades earlier. She told me that back in the day, women saved their costume jewelry when it broke. (That explains why you sometimes see jars full of broken costume jewelry at estate sales.) Then, before the holidays, they would all get together and use the bits to make Christmas trees or crosses. I presume they traded its and bits. What a lovely art form.

Of course, absolutely mesmerized, I tried to buy the lovely, gracious woman’s costume jewelry Christmas tree, or the cross, right off the wall. She really seemed to consider my offer, possibly because she had never seen anyone go so crazy over something she’d made. In the end, though, she wouldn’t sell them. Fast forward 10 years, and of course I’ve been collecting lots of broken jewelry and have enough to do my own. Next year: I’m inviting a friend over for tree-making!

I was reminded of all this when several readers uploaded photos of their vintage costume jewelry Christmas trees in our weekend uploader — 375+ photos!!

Above: Naomi’s costume jewelry Christmas tree. She wrote:

“My fiance’s mother made this for him years ago… There are even lights on it!” 

jewelry-christmas-treeAbove, a tree uploaded from a mystery reader, who said:

This is one of my most treasured pieces. It was made by a dear family friend using old costume jewelry from her aunt’s estate. Look closely and you will find old brooches, earrings, and charms that individually aren’t worth much but set together like this becomes an heirloom.


costume-jewelry-christmas-treeAbove: Kristy H. says that her costume jewelry tree also has lights!

vintage-costume-jewelry-christmas-trees-with-lightsAbove: And here they are!

jewelry-christmas-treeAbove: Carolyn’s gorgeous costume jewelry Christmas tree.

jewelry-vintage-christmas-treeAbove: Two from LuAnn, first shared on our Facebook page and used here with permission, who says: 

Here are two that I just saw in a retirement home lobby that a woman that lives there made ! Stunning in person !

christmas-tree-made-from-costume-jewelryAbove: Featured on our Facebook page and used with permission. Lucky Kristi said:

Found mine at a flea market for $1. It’s one of my favorite decorations!

framed-christmas-tree-costume-jewelryAbove: Featured on our Facebook page and used with permission.Teresa said:

I adore these. Anybody who knows me knows aqua is my color so I’m so happy to have found this at a yard sale.

broken-jewelry-christmas-treeAbove: Shelley’s is a family heirloom. First shown on our Facebook page, used here with permission. She explains:

My grandmother used to make these and she’s no longer with us. So now I cherish mine even more.

christmas-tree-made-from-old-pins-broochesAbove: This one looks to be made entirely from old pins — our grandmothers would have called them “brooches”. Originally featured on our Facebook page and used here with permission, Taylor explains:

I made one out of vintage family jewelry my mom gave me!

costume-jewelry-christmas-treeAbove: Added by a mystery reader in a follow-up uploader. She/he said:

I saw the story about these, and I love the one I found a few years ago, so I thought I’d add to the collection – a little out of focus…

vintage-costume-jewelry-christmas-treeAbove: Featured to our Facebook page and used here with permission. Mary says:

My mother-in-law made one for us utilizing my husbands grandmothers old costume jewelry. I think it’s wonderful! I wish I had one from my grandmother jewelry as well!

broken-costume-jewelry-christmas-treeAbove: Dawn added this one to our Facebook page, now used here with permission. It’s also a family treasure, she says:

My Mom made this one. I will cherish it forever.

costume-jewelry-christmas-treeAbove: Here’s one made of just rhinestones, spotted at an estate sale of a couple who ran estate sales (Take some time to think about that.)


Above, reader Nancy Long said:

Close-up of the jewelry picture. The jewelry picture has tiny Christmas lights I found this at an antique mall about 10 years ago. I see something new every year. 


And above, not a jewelry tree, but an embroidered tree that includes sequins. Such lovely needlecraft. Mystery reader said:

Look closely and you will see little white doves and snow flakes on the silver tree.

  1. Bobby says:

    If you’re going to use inherited jewelry to make one of these trees, please, please, PLEASE use only the broken bits. Many vintage costume jewelry pieces are valuable if they are in good shape, signed, and/or in sets. You could easily ruin jewelry that’s worth hundreds of dollars by gluing it onto fabric. If you still want to use the good stuff to make a tree(and the good stuff is usually the prettiest) I suggest doing the extra work and sewing it on, so it could be safely removed if need be at a later date.

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