It’s always a little bit heartbreaking to let a piece of jewelry sit unworn and forgotten in your jewelry box. Jewelry has a story to tell — it holds the enchantment of memory, it’s a touchstone that transcends time and space to return us to significant moments, it connects us with our ancestors, and fills us with powerful emotions. This is why we believe that jewelry is magic. That doesn’t mean you will love every jewel that comes into your life, or that you’ll love it forever. But it also doesn’t mean that you need to abandon a piece you don’t love and start from scratch.
Fine jewelry is made of noble natural materials: gold, silver, gemstones and diamonds that can be transformed into something new with a combination of creativity and craft. Whether you’ve inherited a family heirloom that doesn’t feel quite right, received a gift that isn’t exactly “you,” or you’ve just fallen out of love with a piece as your style has evolved, jewelry redesign gives you the chance to start fresh — without starting a whole new collection.
Using old jewelry to make a new piece is the ultimate win-win-win. You can hold on to the sentimental value, avoid needless over-consumption, plus extend the life of your investment pieces to someday pass along to a loved one. The best part is that you will collaborate on the redesign of a jewel that you’ve infused with intention and personality, making it uniquely yours. The process is mindful, creative and most of all, fun!
Naturally, the place to begin is your jewelry box. Go through it carefully and edit the pieces you no longer wear or that no longer, as Ms. Kondo would say, “spark joy.” Then assess what you do wear and see if there are any patterns or clues. For example, do you love rings and never wear necklaces? Do you only wear yellow gold and have a white gold piece given to you by someone you love? Are you an avowed minimalist with an ornate heirloom jewel? Once you’ve identified anything that’s ripe for renewal — and noted some of your preferences in jewelry — you’ll be ready to take the next step. Read on for restyling tips, plus get some jewelry design ‘before and after’ inspiration.
Work With a Professional
As in all jewelry design, resetting and restyling jewelry is an art form. Rather than agonizing over how exactly to convert your grandmother’s vintage engagement ring into a chic necklace, let an expert help you. With over 45 years of expertise working with heirlooms and other treasured jewels, our designers and stylists are here to unlock all the potential from your jewelry in ways you might never have imagined possible. Most importantly we’ll collaborate with you to distill what inspires you.
Set up a virtual or in-person appointment and prepare a few inspiration photos that demonstrate your personal style. Don’t worry if the stones in your own jewelry don’t match those photos exactly, that’s where your stylist comes in to support the overall vision with specific design recommendations. Their expert eye will pick up on all the nuance and detail to translate your inspiration into reality.
Don’t Rule Any Pieces Out
It can be difficult to see a pavé platinum ring as anything but a pavé platinum ring, or a vintage gemstone brooch as anything but a vintage gemstone brooch, for example. But avoid ruling out any piece of jewelry from your existing collection for jewelry redesign. Our professional designers and stylists are trained to see the possibilities in every piece.
The stones from that pavé ring can be re-set into a monogram pendant necklace or a pair of scattered diamond hoops; the gemstone brooch can be transformed into a ring. The exact cost will depend on the complexity of the jewelry resetting and materials needed. But don’t worry, your stylist will provide ideas and pricing before starting the project. Even if you and your stylist decide all or part of a piece — for example, a plain gold earring or ring setting — won’t work in your new design, you may be able to trade it in to offset the cost of your restyled jewel. Jewelry recycling is sustainable – when you are working with nature’s precious resources nothing need be wasted.
Plan in Advance
If you’re hoping to debut your renewed jewelry on a specific date or at a special event, it’s best to make an appointment as soon as possible, and allow at least six weeks for the entire process. If the restyle is fairly simple, the jeweler may complete it sooner than that, but it’s important to allow them time to work their magic on your new custom creation. The best things in life are worth the wait, after all.
Ready to get started on what is sure to be your most coveted piece of jewelry? Check out some of our favorite jewelry redesign before and afters for inspiration:
That engagement ring you inherited from your grandmother may not feel right in its current state, but you can preserve the beloved diamond at its center by resetting it within a simple, circular gold pendant. Consider placing the stone off-center for a contemporary twist on an otherwise timeless design.
If you have a pavé piece that feels dated in shape and style, the opportunities are nearly endless as to how you can update and upgrade the small gemstones and diamonds within it. One example is to create an ombré effect using the sapphire stones from a heart pendant and adding blue topaz and diamonds, completing the striking design with an asymmetrical, pointed setting.
Using old jewelry to make new jewelry doesn’t have to be a 1:1 exchange. If you have a collection of pieces going unloved in your jewelry box, consider bringing them all together into one dazzling design—like this ring, which conveys a message of love in Morse Code using multiple inherited diamonds and a few more sourced by us. If you’re not feeling a ring, you can set the message into a vertical stick pendant necklace, or a delicate bangle instead.
Of course, having the option to restyle your jewelry doesn’t mean you’ll never buy something new. But it is an excellent reminder to invest in expert craftsmanship and quality when the time does come to make a purchase. And, when you shop mindfully, those investment pieces can be reinvented and loved again and again.
For endless possibilities and inspiration, discover even more jewelry restyling ideas.