Category Archives: Jewelry Designs

Steampunk and Found Object Jewelry by Rena Hopkins

Introducing Best Friend Earrings

Mr. Bob The wonder bagle
Mr. Bob The wonder bagle

Those of you who know me are aware that the only thing I love more than my pets is…nothing.  There is absolutely nothing that I care about more than my animals.

After adopting Mr. Bob I became painfully aware of how may animals need our help.  I can’t adopt them all, so I devised these earrings as a way of providing support to those organizations who do the hard work of rescuing animals.  Every dollar helps.

BTW If you’d like to see an endless stream of cute dog pics, follow Mr. Bob on instagram @SeniorBasset


Antique illustrations of popular (and some obscure) dog breeds (with some original Divine Iguana illustrations for those breeds that have changed A LOT over the last 100 years).  Decoupaged onto the backs of vintage poker chip and game piece earrings and hung with assorted colors of ceramic beads to make simply adorable earrings.

$2 from the sale of each pair of Best Friends Earrings goes to support animal rescue. 

What Breeds are available?

As of today there are 55 different dog images available in the series, with more coming all the time.  And yes, there will soon be cats as well :)  All the current breeds are shown below.  Don’t see your pet?  Send me a message and I’ll add your critter to the wish list.

Where can I get these?

In the Detroit area you can find the Best Friends Earrings at Poesy Gallery on Rochester Rd in Royal Oak, The Peacock Room in the Park Shelton in Downtown, and in the Divine Iguana Boutique inside the Rust Belt Market (open Saturday and Sundays only).

Cincinnati fans can find these at Indigenous in O’Bryonville.

Can’t get to any of these locations?  Order a pair through Etsy.

A Return to Wanton Creativity

Alice in Wonderland Bib Necklace
Alice in Wonderland Bib Necklace

Before you ask…

No.  I am NOT caught up on all the things.

Wholesale ordering on website ready? Nope.

Digital Images site fully stocked?  Nope.

Laundry folded and put away?  Bwah-Ha-Ha!!!! No!

But there comes a time in an artist’s life when she must set aside trivial things like laundry and tax returns and focus on the truly important things in her life.  Her cat, and making stuff.  Really Cool Stuff.  Over the top, eye-catching, jaw dropping, THIS IS WHY I WANTED TO BE AN ARTIST stuff.  That day was Tuesday.

What makes these pieces so special?

In an average day I make around 30 pieces, more if its an earrings kind of day.  But this week I spent each day on only ONE gorgeous signature necklace.  All of the individual components were worked up in advance (images tweaked and printed, game pieces decoupaged, resin cast, sanded and drilled, Watch movements cleaned, wire wrapped and resin cast…) so all I need to focus on was glorious creation and creativity.

And glorious it was!

The Reveal

The Mermaid’s Tail:

The Mermaid’s Tail necklace is *almost* finished…just another hour or two of beadwork before she goes on display at the Rust Belt this Saturday.

Mermaid's Tail Necklace
Mermaid’s Tail Necklace

The final version has an additional row of beaded chain and two quarter sized vintage watch movements.  I’ll have pictures of the final version up on Instagram soon, and if you’re in the area you can stop by the Rust  Belt  Market  on the corner of 9 mile and Woodward…

Up close and personal with the mermaid's tail
Up close and personal with the mermaid’s tail

The Wonderment Necklace:

I’ve been working with Tenniel’s iIllustrations for Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass for a while now, mostly on my Poker Chip Gypsy Junk style layering necklaces.  These aren’t simple pieces in any way, but compared to this lady they may as well be just a trinket on a chain.

Wonderment Necklace
Wonderment Necklace

Layers of salvaged chain, glass beads, vintage buttons and decoupaged antique game pieces arranged to make one unified wonderland of a necklace.  This may be the most colorful piece I have EVER made.  The Divine Iguana loves color.  The Divine Iguana approves.

Up Close and Personal with AliceAlice will be with me at the market this weekend as well, but probably won’t hit  Etsy for a day or two.  If you’re local stop by and see her in person at the Rust Belt.

The Tangled Pearls Necklace:

My favorite piece is the one that started the whole delightful mess.  The Tangled Pearls necklace is perhaps my favorite piece to date.  And it only took ten hours to construct!  That’s sarcasm…this thing consumed an entire day and most of the night.  It was totally worth it…

Tangled pearls Steampunk Necklace
Tangled Pearls Necklace

She’s available on Etsy RIGHT NOW, and she’ll also be with me at the Divine Iguana shop inside the Rust Belt Market this weekend.  I’m pretty excited to share her with the world.  She’s made entirely of salvaged chain embellished with repurposed glass and faux pearl beads and a myriad of hand-wrapped antique mother-of-pearl buttons.   And did I mention this beauty is reversible?!

Steampunk Bridal Couture Necklace
Up close and personal with the Tangled Pearls Necklace


Antique Octopus Earrings: They’re Back! (this time in silver)

One of the most popular images I work with is this

Octopus Bermudensis as depicted by William Evan Hoyle
Octopus Bermudensis as depicted by William Evan Hoyle

Taken from an amazing collection of illustrations made to document the discoveries of the crew of the H.M.S. Challenger in the years of 1873-1876 These images are bound in 40 volumes and cover everything from barnacle to giant squids in lavish detail. You can browse the entire collection here: What do I use these images for?   Well, I format them into tiny circles, print them, cut them out and affix them to the backs of vintage bingo and lotto game markers to make earrings.  Like these…

Earrings made with illustrations from the H.M.S. Challenger expedition in 1873-1876
Earrings made with illustrations from the H.M.S. Challenger expedition in 1873-1876

I’ve made these for a while now, in various colors and styles.  This newest lot is simple and clean, letting the images speak for themselves. I’ve made only 24this time, and although the octopus image will undoubtedly appear again this simple style with a single antiqued silver bead and the basic silver wire will not.

Divine Iguana on Etsy…the listing frenzy begins

New Steampunk Necklace Listings on Divine

The Holidays are coming! The Holidays are coming!

Okay, that was a bad joke, but the panic is genuine. Holy cow the Holidays are coming up quickly. I started adding new products to the website in preparation for the upcoming holiday shopping season today. Not everyone can come see my work in person, so I’m trying to have a good sampling online as well as at my galleries. The listing blitz began today, but I have miles to go before I sleep…

You can see my progress at The Divine Iguana on Etsy.

The Magic and Mystery Revealed

Human ribcages on lotto markers
What wizardry turned these antique lotto pieces into tiny human ribcages?!

“How do you make these beautiful things?”  I hear variations on this question all the time.  I usually answer with something coy like “That is my ancient Chinese secret” or “By luck and imagination”.  But really my secret is…repetitive motion.  I spend hour after hour cutting tiny pieces of paper onto tiny pieces of wood, then painting each piece with resin and then hand drilling each one until there is a pile of sawdust on the cat in my lap and a hundred little jewels on my workbench ready to become earrings or necklaces or whatnots and doohickies.

I do spend a lot of time trolling old books for inspiration and illustrations.  And I spend a lot of time at the computer drawing new and exciting illustrations.  But most of my time is spent gluing things to things.

Like these things here, destined to become earrings available at Indigenous in Cincinnati and on Etsy.

Found object earrings
Tiny pieces of wood with tiny images on them.

1874 Springfield Watch Movement Necklace

Steampunk Necklace
Buy me for the one you love.

For those who have been asking…YES! I do have my jewelry available online. You will always get a better selection in my store inside the Rust Belt Market in Detroit, or in one of the retail locations that carries my work, but I do keep a few representative samples in my Etsy store and I am working to add more pieces. (its just…product photographs…ugh…).  There will be lots and lots more listed before the holidays, but for now…

This is one of the nicest pieces currently in my inventory, and it  IS  available exclusively on Etsy.

This movement was manufactured in Springfield Illinois in approximately 1874. That’s the year New York annexed the Bronx.  We first established trade relations with the sovereign state of Hawaii. The very first child labor laws were put in place.  In short, a very long time ago.

The piece is weighty and hung from a sturdy triple chain made of brass plated steel to support the weight and distribute it more evenly across your neck.  The manufacturer and serial number (which is how I know the date of manufacture) is engraved onto the movement in a gorgeous script and the back is the original enamelled watch dial, now lovingly preserved under a coat of clear resin for protection (and comfort.  Watch hands against bare skin can be really itchy).

Like all of my watch movement pieces this necklace is ONE OF A KIND.  I’ve used salvaged chain, found beads and even if I had enough of those to recreate the piece it’s highly unlikely that I’ll find another movement like this one.  This is the one.  This is it.  If you love it, you should make it yours.


Antique pocketwatch necklace