Redesign Q&A with our store owner & Gemologist Christina Gandia Gambale
Restyling jewelry has been a service we’ve offered for a long time. Our in-house jewelers have been known and trusted with redesigning precious heirlooms for many years, but we are seeing more and more clients with heirloom jewels in recent years looking to commemorate a moment or person by transforming valuable stones they’ve been holding onto so that they can enjoy it in their style.
If you’ve ever thought about restyling your jewelry but didn’t know where to begin, read on for FAQ’s about this exciting and meaningful process and get clarity from the experts:
- When a customer comes to have a vintage or inherited piece reworked and reimagined into a new piece, what is your first advice for this process?
When I’m in a restyle consultation, I first tell the client to forget what they have brought with them for a moment, and think about what they want. I often recommend my clients to come to the appointment with inspiration photos - Pinterest boards, Instagram, etc. are great places to get ideas.
I tell them this because it’s difficult to look at a piece and reimagine it in your head. By first identifying the style of pieces they love and want to wear, we can then discuss how their piece can be transformed after. It’s our job to surprise them with what’s possible!
Another thing I tell them to think about is what’s missing from their jewelry wardrobe. Perhaps this new piece can be created to fill that gap.
It is also helpful to consider what other jewelry they own to get a sense of their style. If they tend to wear modern, timeless, or unusual vintage pieces and they want this to seamlessly fit into their everyday look, we know to make suggestions that match their style.
- What are the restyle process steps?
- How does it work if a client wants to remake a single piece of jewelry from several pieces of jewelry? What factors do you need to consider?
This is common! In many cases, our clients bring in several different pieces from their jewelry box. Earrings that lost their match, broken bracelets, brooches that aren’t their style, etc.
When this happens, our designers take time to consider how the diamonds or gemstones would appear when set next to each other - do they match in color or size?
If not, we need to ideate a design that celebrates the variety.
Plus, if the color of the stones are different, you need to consider how the metal color will impact the design of all the gems in the new jewel. Certain metal colors will enhance the color of the gemstones in a pleasing way, for example the contrast of yellow gold with an emerald can make it appear more green.
On the other hand, white gold or platinum will make the presence of color in a warmer diamond more obvious.
- Are there any do’s and don’ts about mixing diamonds with other types of gemstones and semi-precious stones?
When working on redesigns, we’re usually presented with a gorgeous variety of gemstones to work with. We love to embrace the variety, but there are times when it’s best to keep it consistent.
It’s not recommended to mix cabochons with faceted gemstones because of the difference in the cuts and the depths of the gemstones. Cabochons have a flat bottom, whereas faceted gems have a pavilion that adds both depth and height.
Different types of settings are required to set each of them due to their different heights, resulting in a design that’s not as visually pleasing from a profile view.
- How long does the process usually take? How does pricing work?
The redesign process takes 6-8 weeks on average. Pricing and timing is dependent on the complexity of the design, the amount of materials being used, if we need to create a CAD (Computer-Aided Design) model, if it’s being completely handcrafted, or if we can fabricate the design from already existing materials.
- How does the cut of the original diamond figure into the design? Do you ever alter the stone itself?
We typically recommend keeping a gemstone in its original shape. We only recommend re-cutting or re-polishing when the gemstone looks very worn, abraded, or has a chip that needs to be removed.
We do not recommend recutting diamonds or gemstones to be different shapes as it normally leads to a substantial loss of weight and size in the gemstone, impacting the integrity.
In the instance of working with a stone that has a worn appearance that’s going to be re-set into a modern design, we would recommend it be re-polished. Leaving the stone as-is creates an obvious contrast, making the condition stand out in an uncomplimentary way.