I solder myself and the girls a lot of butch jewelry out of microscope glass and postage stamps, but I haven't yet gotten into beadwork. I read how-to books and arts and crafts books regardless of whether or not I practice that particular craft, however, and so I was pleasantly surprised to find, while reading by Lindsay Cain, a short how-to on remaking vintage jewelry. The most I've ever done with this was to replace a set of my Mama's handpainted yellow beads that Papa bought her in Italy during the war with fishing line instead of rotting thread, but the possibilities here seem pretty sweet. I've seen a lot of recycled jewelry on etsy, for instance, that uses other objects--pop tabs, dominoes, paperclips, keys, etc.--to make beautiful jewelry, but I think it's the same ethic as remaking clothing to take tacky jewelry and make it awesome.
Buzz Buzz Designs is one Web shop that does exactly this--the artist's work seems to be specifically informed by the recycling ethic, and utilizes vintage costume jewelry to make fine new things. I'm especially fond of this vintage Lucite sphere on a vintage aluminum chain.
I also like pequitobun's shop on etsy: this artist's stuff is partially vintage and can be pretty punk rock.
Femmegems itself also offers this really cool jewelry makeover service: you can ship your own vintage jewelry to them and they'll remake it for you into something awesome. Awesome.