Fashion & Beauty

Lovely Things: The Teaspoon Upcycled Earrings

The stories behind the behind some of the beautiful objects I own

Katharine Eyre
Sybarite
Published in
4 min readMay 6, 2023

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Silver upcycled earrings made from teaspoons
Lovely things (Katharine Eyre © 2023)

“Those are the teaspoons they use in Russian trains, ” says Agnieszka* confidently, staring intently at my earlobes. I’m wearing my new upcycled earrings.

It is 2019 and we are sitting on the couch at my Slovakian friend S.’s flat in the 2nd district of Vienna. It is her annual birthday bash for her closest girlfriends and we’re all there: Austrians, Hungarians, Poles…and me, leading the British delegation of one.

Agnieszka is about 55 years old and grew up in Poland during Communism. She married an Austrian man, has been living in Vienna for about 25 years, and now runs her own department at an Austrian federal ministry. Agnieszka is not to be messed with. If she says my earrings are made from Russian railway teaspoons, then my earrings are made from Russian railway teaspoons.

A tough broad

I liked Agnieszka. She had oodles of style and zero qualms about telling me to stop being a pathetic Western European snowflake.

“Is five hours waiting too high a price to be able to live in Austria?” she asked me once when I complained about the inefficiency of the Austrian immigration authorities, razor-sharp eyebrows shooting skywards.

“I guess not…” I mumbled. I wasn’t about to debate hardship with someone who lived in dilapidated student dorms in the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

Unfortunately, my contact to Agnieszka ceased shortly thereafter when she and S. had a monumental bust-up and stopped speaking. Not wanting to wade into the landmine-strewn wasteland of that particular saga, I prioritised my friendship with S. But it’s a shame. Agnieszka was one tough broad — and I like a tough broad.

I bet she was right about those upcycled earrings as well.

A trip to Porvoo

They came from Porvoo in Finland, not far from the Russian border. My partner and I were spending a few days in Helsinki before heading on up to Vaasa to do an IML march. Porvoo — one of Finland’s oldest towns — makes a great day trip and can be reached easily by bus from the capital.

House in Porvoo, Finland
Porvoo, Finland (Katharine Eyre © 2018)

After we’d walked up and down the pretty cobbled streets and admired the view from the castle hill behind the town, I decided I’d like to do a spot of shopping. The Other Half was occupied with photography, so I was free to browse the various handcrafts on display.

Minding her stall in the corner of one of the gift shops was a lady selling jewellery made from upcycled goods. And not the weird, irony-free “trouser-braces-made-from-car-seatbelts” kind of upcycling either. This woman had well and truly gotten the style memo. Drop earrings made from artfully knotted earbud cables. Otherworldly pendants formed from sculpted fork heads.

And these earrings made from antique teaspoons.

New from old

I’ve always loved the idea of old being used to create new. From the industrial revolution-era brick-built factories in my native Northern England transformed into upmarket flats, to running shoes made from recycled plastic bottles. If it’s about new and fresh being created from the old and discarded, I’m here for it.

That fascination doesn’t stop at utility items either. Watching old houses being renovated totally floats my boat. Even before the pandemic hit and normalised this kind of behaviour, I dropped off the social radar for several weeks to binge-watch all the episodes of Fixer Upper and Good Bones I could find. Then I headed right on over to their British counterparts, “Restoration Home”, “Restoration Man” and “Amazing Spaces.” Let it be known that my commitment to this TV project was absolute.

It’s still a dream

Renovating my own home has been a dream ever since I can remember. Yet, after a decade of ultra-low interest rates that has blown up asset prices far beyond my modest financial grasp, I am not currently in the market to buy a run-down shed — let alone an actual dwelling. So, I satisfy my “new-from-old” urges by wearing these upcycled earrings instead.

I’m not giving up on my dream though. One day, I will wear the earrings while floating stylishly around my beautiful, renovated apartment, pretending I am Joanna Gaines. I might even seek Agnieszka out and invite her over to join me.

For Viennese coffee and cakes, of course.

(* Names have been changed)

This story is part of a series. Here are my other Lovely Things:

The Uzbek Lacquer Box — A Relic of an Extinct Friendship

A Tale of Two Jackets — A Fashion Evolution

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Katharine Eyre
Sybarite

Hi, I'm Katharine and I love words. Read some more of my words on my blog, And So...She Wrote, at https://katharinewrites.com