Redesigning old jewelry is one of my favorite things to do. Why have pieces sitting in a drawer, unloved, when I can turn them into something you’ll want to wear every day?
I recently did a redesign for my gorgeous friend Amanda. Years ago, her grandmother gave her a small garnet birthstone ring as a gift. Later, Amanda inherited her grandmother’s diamond engagement ring. Amanda didn’t wear either of the rings. The garnet was too little-girlish, while Amanda’s hubby had given her another engagement ring.
I took the gems out of both rings and set them into an asymmetrical, 18K-rose-gold necklace. Here is finished piece, shown with the old engagement-ring setting.
As I’ve said before, I recycle gold from old pieces by selling the metal for scrap, even when a customer isn’t switching from rings to a necklace — and from yellow gold to rose gold — like Amanda. Metal is lost in the creation of a new piece as jewelers shape and polish the gold, so we need more gold than ultimately makes it into a design. If we were to depend on reusing the old metal, we’d have a very limited amount of material to work with. Plus, the melting and re-alloying process for a tiny bit of metal is too labor-intensive (meaning expensive) for an individual piece. It’s more practical to sell the metal and invest the proceeds in the new design.
Sometimes this makes customers wonder if the new jewelry will be less meaningful just because it doesn’t use the exact same metal that was in the original piece. I tell everyone what I told Amanda. The emotional significance of jewelry isn’t linked to a few specific grams of gold or even a particular gem. It’s the story that matters. Amanda had two rings she never wore. Now she has a necklace that will make her think of her grandmother every day. And you know what? It’s the thought that counts!