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Repurposing an Old Engagement Ring

wedding ring engagement ring diamond jewelry

Nothing beats a family heirloom full of sentimental memories and significance. If, on the other hand, the ring is sitting in your jewelry box because it isn't your style or feels outdated—or if it's your own engagement ring that you've outgrown—time it's to give it new life. Fortunately, updating your engagement ring or wedding stack over time is completely normal. Because you're probably not wearing the same fashion styles you did five or fifteen years ago, your ring preferences may change along with your wardrobe. After all, jewelry is meant to be worn and enjoyed, not stored away!

What's so lovely about repurposed jewelry is that it allows the wearer to enjoy an old piece with sentimental value while also speaking to their own personal style and aesthetic. It pays homage to both the original and the new wearer.

How to Give Your Old Ring a New Life

So you've got the ring, necklace, or brooch you want to make into something new—now what? It can be extremely overwhelming to find the perfect ring, but you don't have to rush. Gottlieb suggests first browsing Instagram and Pinterest to see what catches your eye, then saving the designs that inspire you as references for your jeweler. Then it's just a matter of fine-tuning a few key elements.

Concentrate on your design options

We advise our clients to consider how much change they want to make. Some of our clients want to completely change the look and feel of their ring, and they frequently want something less traditional or 'bridal' as they enter a new phase of their lives.

Do you want a ring that is more glamorous? Something straightforward? Do you prefer platinum or yellow gold? Before you begin the process, you should decide whether you want to add colored gemstones or side stones, whether you want to wear it with a band, and whether you want a traditional or fashion-forward aesthetic.

Concentrate on larger, more valuable stones

It's best to focus on reusing the larger stones if you're bringing in a family piece that feels outdated or just isn't your vibe. We focus the design on accommodating the more valuable elements of the piece, and then decide whether the smaller (usually pave) diamonds can support the new design or are better suited for a separate piece, such as a new wedding or stack band. Before designing a new piece for those stones, it's always important to consider the quality of the stones to ensure that nothing is chipped or damaged.

Another popular approach is to recreate the original look of your ring, but with a more modern setting, such as adding side gemstones for a three-stone design. As technologies and techniques have improved over the years, modern jewelry designs are often more refined and less clunky than older pieces. Ask your jeweler what they would recommend and get creative with the process.

Don't be afraid to mix and match your jewelry

Pendants, pins, necklaces, and earrings can all be easily incorporated into a new ring. Is there a special necklace your grandmother always wore that you'd like to incorporate into your piece? It's entirely possible. Typically, we remove all stones from each piece, evaluate the quality, and match stones that will work well together. You'd be surprised at what we can make out of stones from various pieces. When mixing stones, the most important consideration is matching the quality and scale.

Important Jewelry Considerations to Keep in Mind

Before you hand over your piece to be redesigned, there are a few things to consider. We rarely reuse metal from an old piece of jewelry. It tends to produce a new gold material with a high porosity, making it difficult to work with and unstable for everyday wear. Any stones with visible chips, cracks, or abrasions should also be avoided. Furthermore, if repurposing a family heirloom would cause too much harm to the piece (and thus break your heart), it's probably best to reconsider.

Diamonds are the easiest to work with because they are more resistant to wear and tear than softer gemstones. Pieces made of small pave diamonds, on the other hand, aren't always worth the upgrade. The labor to set all of the small diamonds accounts for a large portion of the value and cost of creating a pave set piece. The diamonds themselves are usually the same price to replace, so you're better off buying a new [ring] than attempting to rework a piece with many small stones.

Bonus!

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