Quake breakages become objects of beauty

22:26, Apr 02 2011

A team of Wellington jewellers have brought some joy to quake-rattled Christchurch residents by turning their broken china into beautiful jewellery.

Wellington women Caroline McGlinchy and Joanne Grove, whose small business Smash Palace specialises in making jewellery from people's broken china, decided to visit Christchurch and work for free after being approached by some Christchurch residents who had fled to the capital after the February 22 quake.

"They were so surprised with what we could do. One woman, who was crying, said to us 'I can't believe you could make something beautiful out of our broken lives' and that's when we decided we had to come down and do something to help people," McGlinchy said.

The pair thought that over the course of their three-day weekend in Christchurch they might make about 300 pieces of jewellery but, on the first day alone, they had between 200 and 250 people through the door. Some brought with them beautiful antique pieces from the early 1800s, others pieces of lesser value.

"One woman brought her Cliff Richard mug because that's what meant the most to her," McGlinchy said.

"There was lots of laughing, crying and talking. The message that kept coming through is that people had felt that it was not OK to grieve for things because so many people were grieving for people, but this gave them a licence to grieve for the things that they had lost."

In the earthquake, St Albans resident Ferikje Posthuma lost four delicate china plates that had belonged to her mother. Yesterday, the 81-year-old and her husband of 57 years, Adrian, waited patiently in line and then watched as the remains of one of those plates was transformed into a small pendant.

"That plate is more than 100 years old," Ferikje Posthuma said. "It has a lot of sentimental value to me because it used to belong to my mother. At least now I can wear it as a necklace."

"It means a lot to her," husband Adrian added. "She had wanted to pass those plates on to our daughters."

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