SPECIAL NOTE: Due to the COVID-19, our store and workshop are closed. However, our jewelers have home studios and we can still repurpose jewelry and we can still start a project now! Learn more here about how we've working with COVID-19 restrictions.
Making a new wedding ring from old gold, collaborating in old wedding ring redesign, or creating new jewelry from old jewelry has been our specialty since 1995!
If you want to repurpose old earrings, bracelets, an engagement ring or wedding ring into new jewelry or rings, we are the jewelers you've been looking for. We can even convert a ring to a necklace in our jewelry redesign process. In short: if you're wondering what to do with old gold jewelry, we can help!
For many years now we have been making new jewelry from old, focusing on old wedding ring redesign and creating new jewelry from old gold for clients all over the US. Even if you are interested in using old diamonds in a new ring—whether that be your ring, or your grandmother's ring—we can do it.
We specialize in all kinds of custom jewelry design using old gold that our customers send us from all over North America.
If you're in New Mexico, visit us! We've been around since 1995, and we're Santa Fe's 2019 Green Business of the Year. Our workshop is in the same building.
There are a ton of details in this article. Scroll down for photographs of how we melt gold to repurpose jewelry, followed by 10 CASE STUDIES, showing before and after photos showing how you can redesign old jewelry with us. Then, to make sure we're a legit company, check out our 105+ Five Star Google Reviews and see what people say about us.
If you like what you see, call 888-733-5238 and speak with me, Marc, the author of this piece and the co-owner of Reflective Jewelry. You can also email Marc (at) ReflectiveJewelry.com. We're just a small designer jeweler studio of six people, so it's all very hands-on and personal for us.
Whether your question is what to do with an inherited wedding or engagement ring, or general info on transforming old jewelry to new jewelry, this article illustrates how our company, as far as we can tell, offers you more repurposing jewelry options than you'll find anywhere else on line.
Making Old Jewelry Into New Jewelery, And Ideas For Old Wedding Ring Redesign
We do this work because we understand jewelry often has profound talismanic meaning and symbolism. You might want to use the gold or reset the diamonds from you grandmother's wedding and engagement ring.
Using inherited old diamonds in a new ring or having old wedding rings redesigned into necklace allows you to wear that connection to the ancestors.
We commonly repurpose an old wedding ring or old gold jewelry to make a new wedding or engagement ring. Whether it’s using old diamonds in a new ring, converting a ring to a necklace, transforming old gold earrings, bracelets, or chain into a ring or something else, or otherwise making old jewelry into new jewelry, we can take on projects that few jewelers would ever consider.
Three things give us an extraordinary capacity for this kind of custom work:
First, while we can design just about anything any other jeweler can using CAD/CAM computer programs, our jewelers utilize a huge variety of tools of the trade, from rolling mills to metal drawing machines to hydraulic presses. This allow us to take on just about any jewelry redesign project.
Second, we are part of a Southwest jewelry fabrication tradition that dates back to the Spanish Conquistadors. We work with hand-forged anvils, rolling mills, cow horn mallets, domed steel and a huge variety of specialty maker tools used to cut metal by hand, forge designs, and stamp out motifs.
Third, we are a small company specializing in custom work with huge talent. Our four jewelers have over 80 years of combined bench experience as artisan makers.
If you are curious about our artisan approach, and wish to see our workshop, see this 90-second video.
A hand-forged anvil, mallets, and stamps rest on an old cottonwood stump in Helen's work space.
Here's the bottom line: If you want to repurpose your jewelry with a company that's been around for 25 years and has an awesome reputation, you've found the right place.
How Much Does It Cost To Get A Ring Made?
One of the first concerns when using old jewelry to make new jewelry is cost.
Jewelry redesign cost depends mainly on the complexity of the project. Our basic projects start at $450.
For that, we’ll make a comfort fit flatted topped ring or our comfort fit domed ring, as shown in the photo below.
These comfort flat topped and domed rings are both 6mm wide, but can be made in any width. Learn more about comfort fit rings here and see our selection here.
The price is $450 regardless of the size and width.
If you want a second ring and it has the exact same width as the first, then that costs an additional $250. That's because we don't have to go through all the complex processes of melting and rolling out your gold, as shown in more detail in this article here.
So, one question that often comes up is, do you save money by this kind of old wedding ring redesign? The answer is: given the price of gold, which is approaching $1700 an ounce, a five year high, you do save money in making new rings from old—with perhaps one exception.
Very narrow bands, such as this design which is just 1.5mm wide, don't use much gold. But even a narrow band might be worth the old wedding ring redesign because of the symbolic significance of the old gold.
Here's another key point:
The $450 price assumes you provide enough gold.
Otherwise, we can use recycled gold or Fairtrade Gold, sourced from this mine. We are the only Fairtrade Gold jewelers in the entire USA.
If you happen to send us excess gold, we can buy it from you at 93% of spot price—and put this toward your wedding ring redesign cost. Note that the spot price is fixed on the London Bullion Market price on the day your materials are received in our shop.
We can of course create any ring using your gold, even full on custom projects, like the one shown below, which we created in CAD/CAM.
CAD/CAM software, used by most jewelers these days, involves designing a model on a computer and printing this in wax. Left, you can see wax models we created—and on the right, the finished product!
The CAD CAM project costs depend upon the nature of each project. But, best of all, we can use your gold even in these complex casting project.
But what about the cost of other jewelry redesign projects? Making a ring into a necklace, or resetting a diamond, for example....
Again, we need to just talk because pricing varies according to the scope of the project and materials.
Here, one of our jewelers is shown setting a diamond into a custom engagement ring that uses our ever-popular Flores motif.
Diamond resetting cost, or resetting any gemstone, depends on the size of the stone. A small flush set gemstone, up to 3mm, is $39 per stone. For larger gemstones, the price can be anywhere from $75 to $250.
One final critical point!
Because we’re a small custom jewelry company of just six people, we have flexibility in our pricing. We do the best we can do meet your budget.
Melting Gold Jewelry Into New Jewelry: Creating New Wedding Rings From Old Wedding Rings
These photos below that show how we work with most of our old wedding ring resdigned projects-- which involve handmade fabrication.
Melting gold jewelry as a first step to redesign old jewelry.
Because we're melting it down, we can use gold from any source to repurpose old jewelry.
If we are going to cast, we would use this gold. But with hand fabricating, we take that lump of old gold and put it through our mill shown below.
On the very left, here, you can see the gold wire coming through the mill.
Even if we are going to convert a ring to a necklace, old jewelry into new jewelry involves rolling out metal. The key difference is that in jewelry redesign projects (aka non-rings) we create a sheet of gold from which we cut out design motifs.
For wedding ring redesign, as you'll see, we modify the wire shape.
This gold wire is what we get from running a gold ingot through the roller mill above.
This modification—shaping and forming the metal, by hand, into the desired width and thickness—is the key to redesigning an old wedding ring.
Once we have the size, width and thickness correct for your ring redesign, we shape and form the new ring, using a special type of pliers:
It requires tremendous skill and takes time to get everything just right. Below the ring is further shaped on a mandrill.
Our four jewelers, an all-women team, bring decades of maker experience to redesigned old jewelry and redesigned wedding rings.
Once this is polished up, we have the ring shown!
This design is our basic 3mm flat-topped comfort fit ring, which we can make in any width. Any of these classic styles are also good options if you are using old diamonds in a new ring.
The process of redesigning an engagement ring or wedding ring is a complex and multiphase job that can take over five hours. Sometimes, when we use an inherited gold wedding or engagement ring we have to endlessly polish to get out pits and impurities because the alloys in the gold come to the surface.
Let me elaborate: on this question of reusing inherited gold in a new engagement ring, or what to do with an inherited wedding ring, every project is somewhat of a custom design project.
The bottom line is: you have endless options!
As long as we are making new jewelry from old jewelry with gold, we can make an infinite number of designs. In our repurposing of jewelry or old wedding ring redesign, we have to work with gold or silver. If you want something in platinum, we can purchase you platinum at 93% of spot price, and put this toward your jewelry redesign.
Old Wedding Ring Redesign
Let's expore those options beginning with CASE STUDY 1.
A customer wanted us to create something innovative with the gold from a wedding ring that had been her grandfather’s. She also had a bracelet with several diamonds on it that she wanted incorporated into the ring. Using old diamonds in a new ring is something we commonly do.
She wanted some kind of heart motif on the design, so I suggested a variation of our Corazon ring. Instead of having one center stone, we could use the heart motif around the ring and set her smaller diamonds in it.
She wanted the piece to be two tone, gold and silver. So, we used her gold to make the center of the ring and soldered on silver borders. Then, using old diamonds in new ring, we create the ring.
Whether you're sending us inherited old rings or any other piece of old gold jewelry, such as old bracelets, or earrings, it makes no difference what jewelry we redesign into a wedding ring. We can also even easily convert a ring into a necklace.
What's really cool is that we can use any of the motifs you on our other jewelry, our necklaces for women, for example, and add them on to your ring.
Redesigning Wedding Rings And Engagement Rings From Old White Gold Jewelry
CASE STUDY 2 involved using white gold, which poses its own set of challenges.
White gold is made with alloy that turns yellow gold into its white color. This alloy has special unique qualities that often make a high polish finish difficult when repurposing jewelry.
Here’s what’s essential for you to know…
If you want a smooth, high-polish finish, we will do our best but there might be small impurities in the form of tiny pits show through. This issue comes up specifically when using old white gold to make new white gold jewelry or new white gold wedding rings.
Some of our customers embrace this look. But for those who don't like it, we highly recommend, when considering ideas for old wedding rings, a design like our Playa style rings or rings with a hammered finish.
We can hammer, texture or matte the surface of your old wedding ring redesigned at no extra cost. But if you opt for a smooth high-polish finish, you may end up with a surface as shown below:
This white gold engagement ring contained an inscription on the inside of the band, marking the wedding date of a young couple.
When we re-purposed this piece as a pair of smaller wedding rings, we re-created the inscription on the outside.
To some, this pits shown on the upper part of the right ring add a depth of character. But if this doesn't speak to you, and you don't want a textured finish, we can simply buy your gold at 93% of its value and create your design using new white gold.
Casting Using Old Gold To Make A Custom Wedding Or Engagement Ring
CASE STUDY 3
Actually, this isn't quite "before" and "after." Case study 3 involves casting a new ring using old gold, to make old jewelry into new jewelry.
When casting rings, best practice is to purchase alloy from a supply house and mix it with 24K (pure) gold. Recasting old gold from an old ring can pose difficult challenges due to the fickle and unpredictable nature of heat, precious metal, and unknown alloys in a hot flask.
While the vast majority of jewelers will not even consider using your gold to cast a new ring, we have successfully done it many times.
We were asked to duplicate the ring on the left, which is made in base metal. We used the customer's old gold to make the new ring on the right, which we set with a ruby and lab grown diamonds.
Incidently, we source our lab grown diamonds from the Diamond Foundry, the only carbon neutral lab grown diamond manufacturer.
But here's what you have to know before you start:
There needs to be a lot of extra gold in the casting process for the sprew—the piece of metal that attaches the wax to a structure within the casting flask. The sprew can have as much or more gold by weight than the ring.
So, if you want us to cast a ring using your gold, send us lot of gold. Or, we can move forward using our gold to create the cast. In this case, you would have to be OK knowing your new ring will not be 100% your gold, but a combo of our gold and your gold.
But what this option does allow is for us to make virtually any engagement or wedding ring that you can imagine. Learn more about custom projects here.
Converting A Ring To A Necklace
CASE STUDY 4
This is the kind of project that involves our bench work skill to convert a ring to a necklace.
A woman who sadly lost her husband after many decades of marriage wanted us to make something out of his wedding ring.
We were able to cut the ring and stretch the gold into wire, from which we converted the ring into a necklace in the shape of a heart.
Heres's another example... For this project, we melted the white and yellow gold from the ring on the left—which belonged to our customer's grandfather—and made the new two-tone ring on the right. We had some extra gold from this project, which we used to create a heart pendant for our customer's grandmother which served as a wedding gift fo an additional $175.
If you want to turn a ring into a necklace, we could actually do a much more extensive project than just bending wire. This would involve creating a wax carving and casting out the new design with your gold.
Unusual Ideas For Old Wedding Ring Redesign
CASE STUDY 5 is idea for inherited old wedding rings. Our client, when considering ideas for an inherited old wedding rings, asked for a free-flowing wide ring that used her existing diamond.
We worked with her back and forth over what that image should look like and we came up with this design. It required a lot of finessing from our jeweler, Michelle, who is more accustomed to making less organic looking designs. After completion we sent her back all her gemstones.
In the end, our client wrote, "I received the ring and I love it. It fits perfectly too!"
Redesign Custom Jewelry Using Your Gems
For CASE STUDY 6 involves resetting diamonds and rubies.
Since we started our company in 1995, customers have requested absolutely anything and everything, ranging from changing out gemstones in existing designs to immortalizing the pawprint of a beloved four-legged friend.
For this custom jewelry project, we recreated the pawprint of a client's beloved dog on a pendant. More details on this here!
This customer actually sent us a muddy paw print on a piece of paper after her beloved dog passed away. We collaborated closely, coming up with this pendant design which we made entirely by hand.
Here's a short video on our Custom Jewelry Design process.
Combining Two Rings Into One
CASE STUDY 7 is for those who may be confronted by a painful qustion: what do do with a wedding ring after a death? Combining two rings into one may be the most poignant options for old wedding rings.
In this case, we were contacted by a gentleman who had lost his wife. We combined his wedding ring with her wedding and engagement ring to make a new ring. We also set the diamond from the engagement ring into the new wedding ring.
In combining two rings into one, we can also set any gemstone, from a small melee to a center gemstone, into the new ring.
We are always honored to do these kinds of projects.
Resetting Diamond Engagement Rings: Using Old Diamonds In A New Ring
CASE STUDY 8 involves resetting diamond engagement rings. Using old diamonds in a new ring is such a common request that we always have these kinds of projects going through our shop.
We can take your old gold and make a new ring with it, or we can reset your diamonds into one of our designs. The ring below is one of our designs, but was reset with a customer's diamond of over two carats:
What a beauty! Our Open Rope Engagement Ring designs, some of our most popular, feature a low-set center stone—perfect for an active lifestyle.
Jewelry Redesign Before And After
With CASE STUDY 9 we cover a few additional jewelry redesign options. The two examples of old wedding ring redesign show how the transformation can be quite dramatic.
The "before" photo here is an older, inherited piece. The "after" photo is the engagement ring which used the customer's diamonds and sapphire.
In the case below, we brainstormed with considering various ideas for old wedding rings. She settled on this one of a kind design based on one of our existing designs
In this case we did not re-use the gold. We gave customer 93% of its spot value toward the making of the new ring.
Custom Jewelry Projects
CASE STUDY 10 is a full on custom jewelry. Again, the customer provided the diamonds and a basic design. We drew up this sketch and then created this piece entirely by hand.
You can even send us a simple drawing for your custom idea. Don’t worry about not being an artist! We can work with you.
With the ring above, we used our client’s diamonds. The whole custom job, entirely handmade, from the customer’s drawing to the final product, ran $2200.
Is Recycling Your Gold Eco Friendly?
Now, a few final points before we conclude...
Despite white other “ethical” jewelers may misleadingly claim, the answer is, not particularly. The bottom line is recycled gold as an eco-friendly proposition is just another form of greenwashing.
We are poineers in ethical sourcing in North America and the only Fairtrade Gold jewelers in the USA. There are over 250 in the UK alone but here, the movement has not taken off. If you want to know why, take a deep dive into my Ethical Sourcing Exposé.
But the key point is this:
Regardless of how much jewelry is recycled, gold mining will continue, particularly in the case of small-scale miners who live in impoverished exploited conditions.
We have to do something for those impoverished small-scale miners—25 million of them. Fairtrade Gold gives them the best chance to live dignified lives, and reduces global mercury contamination.
The real value of reusing inherited gold in a new engagement ring, or considering what to do with an inherited wedding ring is that the gold has talismanic importance. Using your gold can also save you money.
If we need more gold for your ring, we can use recycled gold or fairtrade gold. Fairtrade gold is better, as I explain in my 15 Reasons You Should Buy Fairtrade Gold Jewelry vs. Recycled Gold Jewelry.
We hope this provides at least a starting point for what to do with old gold jewelry! If you have any more questions, let us know.
Feel free to call me, Marc, at 888-733-5238, so we can talk personally about the project.
Otherwise, you can email me at Marc (AT) reflectivejewelry.com. You can also leave your question or comment in the comment section below. It can take me 24 hours to get back to you, particularly on the weekends.
PS: One more thing: shipping. We recommend US Post Insured.
Send the jewelry to me, Attn: Marc , Reflective Jewelry, 912 Baca Street, Santa Fe, NM 87505.