Have you ever received heirloom jewelry? It’s both a gift and a curse. Your living grandparent might have gifted you a wedding band, or perhaps a bracelet or watch that has been passed down since the 1850s. They wanted to keep the piece in the family.
However, many of these pieces are so out of date or gaudy that you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing it. The piece might even be broken! What ends up happening is that it stays in the bottom of a jewelry box or in a safe deposit box until some younger relative gets old enough to inherit it.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Wouldn’t your family rather see you wear the piece as an expression of love or your elder relative’s wealth? What you can do, instead, is redesign the piece into something more fashionable and turn old jewelry to new. The stones in an old thick ring might make lovely earrings or as a pendant on a gold chain. There are a lot of options when recycling old jewelry into new pieces. Here’s how the process generally works.
Get it assessed
Let’s say you have a rose gold engagement ring in an outdated style. The first thing to do is to take it to a reputable jeweler to get it assessed. During the assessment, the jeweler will check the stones and the metal for any hidden damage that may affect a redesign. They can also look up the history of the piece to see if it is worth more as it is.
Go over designs
Once the jeweler knows what materials they have to work with, they can go over possible design options on how to make old jewelry new. This is where a jeweler’s talent can really shine. The best jewelers will be able to show you before and after pieces of antique jewelry, as well as tell you which designs may be impossible given the condition of the stones or the setting.
Jewelers can do a lot of things to a piece beyond just resizing and repair. Heirloom jewelry can be split into multiple pieces. The metal can be replaced, and you can even melt old jewelry into new pieces. Stones can be added or removed. You can even commission a completely custom piece.
It should be noted that redesigning a piece can cost almost as much as getting a new piece, depending on the customizations. While your heirloom piece provides much of the raw material, the costs of labor make redesigns expensive. There can be a small army of specialists necessary to redesign a piece.
The expense of the redesign really depends on many different factors. A reputable jeweler can break down what needs to be done to explain the final fee but don’t be surprised if it’s more than you expect.
Grogan Jewelers is holding an event this month to spotlight restyling older and unusable jewelry and show what can be done with an heirloom jewelry redesign. If you have an older piece, we’ll take a look at it. You might find that the old gaudy brooch your great aunt gave you just might be wearable after all. Contact us to learn more!