Perhaps you have inherited Grandpa’s or Grandma’s wedding or engagement rings, old necklaces, or other jewelry. Maybe it’s your Mom or Dad’s ring that was passed down to you and you want to to use that very gold because in it is the energy of the marriage that lasted for decades.
By wearing a new ring made form gold passed down, you connect to lineage, the ancestors, and carry that lineage forward.
We can take that old wedding ring, or several rings, or even old gold jewelry and make new wedding and engagement rings. As custom jewelers and makers in a small Santa Fe studio, we have transformed numerous old wedding and engagement rings into new.
Unlike the majority of jewelry these days, which is usually fabricated on CAD/CAM computer programs that generate images cut into waxes, we hand build most of our designs—from our Classic Comfort Fit wedding bands to our mixed-metal two-tone rings. We are one of the few jewelers around who are actually artisan makers.
That means that we can cut an old ring, flatten and mill it thin, and incorporate it into another band. We can also make new wedding rings from old wedding rings.
As the only certified Fairtrade Gold jeweler in the USA, we pften make rings from scratch, totally in house.
Here's how it works.
Creating New Wedding Rings from Old Wedding Rings
After receiving your rings, and deciding upon what type of new ring you’d like, we melt down your rings as shown here:
Second, we go through a process where we take that lump of gold and flatten it and roll it through our mill:
At this point, what we end up with is a piece of gold, as shown below:
From here, we shape and form the new ring, using a special type of pliers:
We form this metal into the right width and thickness of your wedding ring. It takes a lot of skill, but between our three jewelers we have over seventy years of jeweler/maker experience! We work on old cottonwood stumps—a tradition for Southwestern jewelers that has been passed down for hundreds of years.
Once this polished up, we have the ring shown!
How Much Does This New Old Wedding Ring Cost?
Typically, this process takes about 3 to 5 hours of work—depending on the complexity of the job. (White gold, for example, takes more time than yellow gold, due to the alloys involved.) Our shop time is $100 an hour—giving you a rough estimate of $400-$550. If what you want is a simple classic wedding band like your grandmother or grandfather wore, we can make it.
Why Not Just Cast Using the Old Gold to Make New Rings?
Recasting gold or platinum metal, or reusing any metal from an old ring poses difficult challenges due to the fickle and unpredictable nature of heat, precious metal, and unknown alloys in a hot flask. Mixing alloys makes it very difficult to get a clean cast because the alloys mixed with the metals have irregular properties. Therefore, it is always preferable to use pure metal with fresh alloy.
But there’s an additional issue with reusing old rings to make new designs or custom jewelry. Suppose we melted down an old ring to use the gold to cast a new one. With casts, if a ring has a weight of 1/5th of a troy ounce (ozt), then it might require an additional 1.5 ozt to cast.
That's because there are elements created to hold the wax in place during the casting process, and other metal in addition to that is required to fill the mold and have the right amount of pressure. So the new ring, no matter what, would not have the same gold as the old ring.
One final option that many of our customers take advantage of: we can purchase old metal and recycle it, offering 93% of the value of that metal toward the purchase of a new ring, based upon the spot price the day we receive the trade-in.
Now, here are some additional case studies of what we can do:
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.
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 boarders. Then we set the diamonds.
CASE STUDY 2
Now for an example of a query and my response which might help you understand a bit more about these issues:
Here's a question I received in my email in Oct. 2018.
I've got an 18K gold ring and a 14k gold rings and I want to create one ring. I also have two small diamonds and I'd like to add an emerald as well into the design. Can you give me an estimate? Thank you!
Here's my response:
Let's say that, with the two small rings, melted into one, you want a basic ring such as this classic wedding ring style.
Our shop time to make this ring is 4 to 5 hours so the cost would be $400 to $500 for labor.
Here's another factor: sometimes in mixing old gold, particularly white gold. With the finish product, we end up with pits. The impurities in the alloys can make it difficult to have a really high polish finish without those pits in the metal.
Sometimes we recommend a textured finish—such as our Playa style, which we can make in any width. We could also do a hammered finish, as shown with our River ring design.
Another option would be for us to overlay one of our designs on top. For example, our Flores motif here, shown on top of a gold base, can be applied on top of a ring made with your gold. We have numerous designs to choose from.
Setting the diamonds is $39 each. This is assuming that they are small diamonds, under 3mm. If they are larger then the price would be different, depending upon the size.
As for the emerald: again, that depends on the size. But a 5mm round emerald set in gold would cost about $150 to set. We have some great emeralds in house if you are interested. Here's info about our emerald sourcing.
CASE STUDY 3
This example is not exactly making a ring from a ring, but it might help you imagine what’s possible.
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 made this heart pendant.
CASE STUDY 4
This project was a bit more challenging, but again it gives you a sense of what we can do as custom jewelers who make pieces by hand.
Our client 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.
In the end, our client wrote, "I received the ring and I love it. It fits perfectly too!"
Hope this provides at least a starting point! If you have any more questions, let me know. Email us at info(AT)reflectivejewelry.com. Or you can call us at 888-733-5238, You can also leave your question a comment and we'll get back to you on this page as soon as we can.
One more thing: if you want to know what people think about working with our company, check out our Google reviews.