What to Do with Old Jewelry

What to Do with Old Jewelry

Author: Marc Choyt | Monday, July 11, 2022

Repurpose your old jewelry by redesigning it into something beautiful that you’ll cherish!

 

 

SPECIAL NOTE: WE CAN REDESIGN OLD JEWELRY USING YOUR GOLD AND GEMSTONES TO CREATE ANYTHING YOU IMAGINE, from combining two rings into one to converting a ring into a necklace.

Looking to work with an awesome small artisan studio with excellent cred? Call our shop at 888-733-5238 or email info (at) reflectivejewelry.com for a FREE, no-pressure consultation.  —Marc Choyt, co-owner

A five star review for Reflective Jewelry

 

Updated 7/11/2022

We are custom artisan jewelers, established in 1995, with a storefront and studio in Santa Fe, NM. We specialize in redesigned jewelry projects.

Just about everybody who loves jewelry ends up with pieces just gathering dust. Why not repurpose sentimental or out-of-fashion old jewelry into something you’ll love? 

Gold, diamonds, and gemstones passed down family rings can even be transformed into redesigned engagement rings or wedding rings, allowing you to wear your connection to your family.

Here’s the bottom line:

Very few jewelers will take on these projects, because they are simply too complex. But we can make any jewelry design you can imagine out of old gold, diamonds, and gemstones!

We’re experts in classic styles and hand fabrication, and use traditional handwork techniques that few jewelers possess today.

These rare abilities mean we can work with just about any old material.

Just take a look:

We transformed a gold tooth dental crown into a gold wedding ring.

Yes, that's an old gold tooth/dental crown we redesigned into a wedding ring.

 

Want to know another awesome thing about making custom new jewelry from old jewelry? 

You can save a lot of money!

Gold prices are extremely high. By reusing your old gold, you will pay only for fabrication costs. And if there's excess gold, we’ll buy it at 93% of market value. (You can even bring us other gold from other jewelry you no longer wear!)

If you are interested in exploring your custom repurposed jewelry idea, simply call us at 888-733-5238 or contact us here.

But if you want more info (or inspiration!), read the rest of this highly informative article. We’ve divided it into four easy-to-read sections.

Part 1:   Examples of jewelry redesign before and after: photos showing how we redesign wedding rings or upcycle old jewelry using your diamonds, gems, and gold.  

Part 2:   Cost and how we work.

Part 3:   A few words about our company and its reputation.

Part 4:   Next steps.  

 

Part 1:  Examples Of What To Do With Old Jewelry

There are infinite possibilities for repurposing your jewelry! Let's dive in...

 

Convert Your Ring to a Necklace or Pendant

This first piece involved a lot of custom design. We removed all the gems from the rings on the left and created this pendant:

 

 

We can take a wedding ring or engagement ring and turn it into a necklace or pendant. 

But, here’s a much simpler recycled wedding ring project. A woman who had lost her husband after decades of marriage brought his wedding ring to us. Entirely by hand, we were able to fashion it into this pendant, so that his memory could live on with her:

We recycled an old wedding ring by converting the ring into this heart necklace/pendant, using only hand tools!

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, the project below involved computer-generated imaging. A lovely couple wanted to gift their son a custom helm (ship's wheel) pendant.

We used their old gold ring and gold chain in this jewelry redesign project.

This redesigned jewelry transformation involved repurposing an old gold chain and ring into a brand new compass necklace pendant.

Sometimes, turning a wedding ring into pendant involves religious symbols. A gentleman who had just lost his wife asked us to turn her wedding ring into a simple cross pendant he could wear. Here is the result:

And below is another redesigned cross pendant based on variations of our own designs. With this project, we used the silver ring to the left as the base of our Interlace Cross.  

Turning a gold wedding ring into a cross necklace pendant is a beautiful way to honor a loved one.

And here's one more example of how we can convert a ring to a pendant or necklace. This customer never wore the ring in the "before" photo, but loved the pearl set in it — for good reason!

We reset this pearl from an old ring into a brand new necklace. We love to repurpose old jewelry and gems like this!

 

We reset her gem in a brand new pendant made of her old gold.

 

[ There’s no time like the present! If you’d like to speak with me about turning a ring into a necklace — or any other custom jewelry project — give me a call at 888-733-5238 or email info (at) reflectivejewelry.com ]

 

Of course: If we can turn a ring into necklace, we can also turn a necklace (or several!) into a ring.

For the project below, we repurposed two pendants, a ring, and reset a gorgeous rose quartz into a brand new custom gemstone ring:

 

We repurposed a gemstone and transformed these pendants and rings into a brand new gemstone engagement ring.

 

If you have a dream for your custom jewelry redesign project, we can make it a reality!

 

Resetting an Heirloom Diamond

Often when a client wants to know what to do with old jewelry, the first suggestion I make is to review our existing designs as shown on our website. Here, we used our customer’s gold to create our Donegal engagement ring.

This custom variation on our Donegal engagement ring design is a beautiful example of repurposing old gold into a new engagement ring!

And here, we carry further the theme of using our designs to repurpose jewelry:

We can turn your old gold chain into a brand new engagement ring or wedding ring!

When considering what to do with old gold jewelry, it's about your ideas and our creativity!

 

In this case we melted down our client's bracelet and created two of our own designs: the River Ring and Simplicity Engagement Ring.  

Though we can make a wedding or engagement ring style of your choosing, we have many wonderful designs. You can view our entire collection of wedding rings and engagement rings for more ideas for old wedding rings.

Here's another example of reusing diamonds from an engagement ring:

We redesigned grandma's diamond ring into a more contemporary engagement ring style.

 

For even more inspiration on how to redesign jewelry, or what to do with old jewelry, check out our Pinterest page!

 

Turning Old Jewelry Into New

What we’ve learned over the years is that if you want to repurpose jewelry, the options are endless.

Below is a great example of turning a ring into a bracelet. We melted down our customer's gold to create new gold components for our Renee Bracelet. We then reset their inherited engagement ring's diamond at center.

Whatever gems we don’t use, we return to you. We can also buy excess gold at 93% of market value and credit your job.

We can turn your old jewelry, diamond ring or wedding ring into a bracelet! Here, we turned a diamond engagement ring into a diamond bracelet.

 

Here, a vastly different example of wedding rings redesigned! We created monogrammed cufflinks from old family wedding rings as a special accessory for an upcoming wedding:

When repurposing old jewelry into new jewelry, we can take on projects such as melting four old wedding and engagement rings into a new pair of custom, gold, monogrammed cufflinks.

 

Many redesigned jewelry projects involve a customer’s gemstone. The sketch below was created by our client. We then brought the custom designed pendant to life!

We can create a custom jewelry redesign using your sketch, but don't worry if you're not an artist! We'll work with you to come up with the perfect jewelry redesign idea.

 

If you're looking for redesign wedding ring styles that are simple and classic, this jewelry redesign before and after photo shows that we can do that as well:

These inherited designer rings had sentimental value, but their style did not fit our customer's. No matter! We redesigned these old gold rings into chic, modern rings.

 

Here’s the bottom line:

Whatever your vision for jewelry redesign using gold, silver, and gems, we can do it!

 

[ Feeling inspired yet? Why wait?? Call me at 888-733-5238 or email info (at) reflectivejewelry.com ]

 

Part 2: Methods + Cost to Repurpose Old Jewelry

After we have received your old jewelry, the first step, especially in resetting engagement rings or repurposing vintage jewelry, is to remove the gemstones. 

Once we’re down to metal only, it’s time for fire!

 

 

This is a typical process in much of the jewelry we make, because we often start from pure 24K gold. We even make our own wire and sheet, which many other jewelers buy from suppliers.

 

What makes Reflective Jewelry unique is that our jewelers have over a hundred years of combined bench experience. Our tradition as makers, involves knowing how to work with anvils and hammers of steel and cow horn  — even forging our own tools using techniques that date back to the Spanish Conquistadors! 

If you want to see more, here’s a two minute video that takes you into our artisan workshop. 

 

We are experts in two critical repurpose jewelry fabrication approaches:

 

First, we are designers and makers.

If you have the question, what can I do with old jewelry, or what to do with old earrings, we can give you advice. We can take a sketch or idea and turn it into something that you’ll cherish.   

We are also highly skilled in hand fabrication — which is relatively rare in today’s high-tech world where most jewelers do everything on computer and CAD/CAM. This allows us to engage with repurpose jewelry jobs that are highly original and custom.

After we create an ingot as shown in the video, we roll it out and make our own sheet or wire — which can be made in any shape or form. In the case of sheet, we can cut out designs, creating an earring or a pendant from a ring. If we are using old diamonds in a new ring, we end up putting the ingot through a rolling mill to create wire for a new ring. 

When we repurpose old jewelry into a new ring, this is what it looks like! Here, the gold ingot we melted down is first put through a rolling mill — then fashioned with hand tools into a ring shape.

 

We used this very process to create and reset the engagement ring below:

We took the ring on the left, along with inherited diamonds from several generations, melted it down, and repurposed the old wedding ring into a brand new ring design!

The majority of our repurpose jewelry jobs are simply creating classic new wedding rings from old.

We have two basic styles: comfort fit flatted topped ring or our comfort fit domed ring:

Our comfort fit flat topped and comfort fit domed wedding rings. Both shown here as 6mm wide, they can be made thinner or wider according to your preference!

Learn more about comfort fit rings here and view our selection here.

 

Our comfort fit designs are of high quality — 2mm thick. The cost for a yellow gold band from 2mm-4mm is $495, and from 5mm-8mm $595. (More surface area means we have to deal with more cracking and clean up, as well as more labor to shape the ring.) For anything over 8mm, it's best to contact us at 888-733-5238 or info(at)reflectivejewelry.com.

Here's a rundown of some other common costs, all based on the labor involved:

A hammered finish is $75.

Reworking a white gold wedding band is an automatic $75 upcharge, due to complexities that arise because of the alloy in white gold. We also can't guarantee a high-polish finish — though we often do have success!

Gemstone removal is a minimum of $25, but may be higher depending on various complexities.

We can engrave your redesigned wedding band for $15 per letter, with a six letter/$75 minimum.

If you want a second ring of the same width, you'll get a discount — because we don’t need to create two separate pieces of gold wire to create the new ring

We’re also capable of very intricate, creative projects. Suppose you have an old class ring, and a vision for something new that suits you. Here's how one such project went:

 

 

Here’s the bottom line: 

Among all the jewelers who repurpose jewelry, we are a rare and endangered species: maker, artisans, American craftsmen who, using our own hands, bring fabrication techniques that are hundreds of years old into our modern setting. 

 

Second, we can also be high-tech in our jewelry redesign.

Many of the repurposed jewelry jobs we do require wax carving. With some jewelry redesign, particularly figurative images, we carve by hand, such as in this piece below where we converted an 18K bracelet into a ring that features an ivory elk tooth:  

In this jewelry redesign, we used a customer's elk tooth and 18K gold bracelet to create this new ring from old.

In other cases, we bring designs to CAD/CAM and create computer-generated images. What makes this custom design process special is that you receive a computer-generated image for review before we go into production.  

For example, suppose you're resetting a diamond ring from an eternity band. Now, resetting an engagement ring offers numerous possibilities, as this jewelry redesign before and after illustrates:

This jewelry redesign before and after is a beautiful example of a CAD/CAM project, and of resetting a diamond in a unique way.

In this case, we were contacted by a woman who lost her husband and wanted to combine his ring and her engagement diamond and ring with an eternity band. We went back and forth many times before settling on the final design. We supplied the small diamonds for the eternity band styling at the bottom of the ring, and cast out the whole design from a CAD file. This piece cost $1600. 

The critical takeaway is this:

No matter what repurposed jewelry project you want, from pavé diamond setting to simply making a classic domed or flat topped comfort fit wedding band, we can do it.

The projects below show some of the work that we’ve done.

 

[ Liking what you see, but not sure if hand fabrication or CAD/CAM is right for your custom jewelry design project? Just call me at 888-733-5238 or email info (at) reflectivejewelry.com. I'm here to answer your questions, with no obligation! ]

 

Part 3: About Reflective Jewelry

 

The Reflective Jewelry gallery and studio is located in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Even if you can’t visit us in our Santa Fe, NM gallery (above), we have plenty of experience working with people all over the country.

 

The most important element of any jewelry business is reputation. Nearly every day we receive gold, diamonds and gems with priceless sentimental value from people all over the country. You have to be able to trust your jeweler. 

We’ve been in business since 1995. To start, check out our 165+ Five Star Google Reviews

We’re located in Santa Fe, New Mexico — and in 2019, our city named us Green Business of the Year and a jewelry magazine named us “The Best of the Best.”  We’re the only certified Fairtrade Gold jeweler in the US.

If you'd like a two-minute tour of our studio, check out this video:

 

Part 4: Next steps to Repurposed Jewelry

If you would like to move forward, here are the simple steps:

Email me, info (at) reflectivejewelry.com with your jewelry redesign idea. If you can, take a photo of your existing material and send it along in the email. Also, email an image of what you want or simply describe what you’re looking for as best as you can. 

I generally can give you a price quote for the job. If you want to move forward, then I need your address, phone number and email to set you up a formal quote in our system which I’ll send to you.

As for sending your material to me, I recommend the USPS. While FEDEX and UPS sometimes leave packages in front of our door, neither rain, sleet, nor snow (nor COVID) will stop our noble postman, Steve, from coming into our store where we sign for packages. 

Ship to: Marc Choyt, Reflective Jewelry, 912 Baca Street, Santa Fe, NM, 87505.

Once I receive your material, I will email you or give you a call.

Let’s go! 

 

PS: You can also leave a comment at the bottom of this page with your question, and I'll get back to you ASAP.  

 

Marc Choyt is president of Reflective Jewelry, a designer jewelry company founded in 1995. He pioneered the ethical sourcing movement in North America and is also the only certified Fairtrade Gold jeweler in the United States. Choyt’s company was named Santa Fe New Mexico’s Green Business of the Year in 2019, and he has been honored with several awards for his efforts to support ethical jewelry. His ebook, Ethical Jewelry Exposé: Lies, Damn Lies and Conflict Free Diamonds, is available online. Choyt can be reached on Twitter at @Circlemanifesto or by email at marc(at)reflectivejewelry.com.



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Comments ( 4)

Posted by: Tina Swain on Sep 05, 2020
I am interested in converting some older gold jewelry into something new. Can you help?
Posted by: Marc Choyt on Sep 05, 2020
Tina we can definitely assist. Email at marc @ reflectivejewelry.com or give us a call and we can discuss your project.
Posted by: Eve Mitchell on Aug 26, 2022
It's good to know that the most important aspect of any jewelry company is reputation. I'd really like to sell some of my old diamond necklaces from my ex-husband. I'll have to get them appraised sometime this week.
Posted by: Marc Choyt on Aug 26, 2022
Eve, we can definitely set the old diamonds in new pieces. Just email what you'd like us to make and what you have. From there I can give you a quote.

Only Fairtrade Gold Jeweler in the USA 
since 2015

Santa Fe, NM Green Business of the Year

Catalyzing the Ethical Jewelry Movement

Winner of MJSA Responsibly Sourced Design Challenge

Founder of First-Ever Ethical Jewelry Blog

Collaborators of USAID Zahabu Safi (Clean Gold) Project