Susan Kurtz inherited gobs of costume jewelry from her two great-aunts when they died.

The pieces were gaudy and flashy—and she adored them. Yet, she didn’t exactly know what do with them.

“I wanted to make it into something to remember them by, but something that was more my taste,” said Kurtz, who found the idea for a brooch bouquet online.

Soon, friends who saw photos of the brooch bouquet began asking her to transform their sentimental jewelry pieces. Kurtz, a gemologist who already sold vintage jewelry memory collages and her own jewelry designs at craft shows, also began adding the bouquets to her line of items.

Kurtz now ships bouquets, as well as cake toppers, hairpieces and other keepsake jewelry items across the country through her Canton-based company Susie Kays Design.

“A lot of brides, even after the wedding will put (their brooch bouquets) under a glass dome or cloche,” Kurtz said. “It doesn’t wilt, and it won’t die. You can keep it forever.”

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Besides bouquets, what other items have you made for a bride?
“I have taken sentimental pieces from a bride and turned them into a necklace or attached them to a garter,” Kurtz said. “.. I’ve also taken a sentimental piece that was from a bride’s grandmother and turned it into a hair comb for the veil.”

How do you suggest brides collect pieces for their brooch bouquet?
“What I will tell them to do is go through their family’s jewelry boxes. You never know what can be used,” Kurtz said. She also suggests that they incorporate the brooches into their bridal shower. “I suggest they put it on the invitation that instead of a bow on a gift, place a brooch on the gift,” she said. “… Then she has a collection from all the people who are very close and dear to her.”

How far in advance should a bride contact you before she would need the piece?
“I ask for three months, that’s just because if they are going to be collecting from their family, the bridal showers typically are three to four months out from the wedding,” Kurtz said. “But there have been brides who contacted me and I’ve gotten them done in a week. It just depends on my time and if have the time.”

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Kelli Weir

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