How to Redesign Old Jewelry

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redesign-old-jewelry-conversion

If you’ve received a family heirloom or you’re going through your jewelry box, you might have thought- well, this is too old-fashioned for my taste. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to sit at the bottom of your jewelry box collecting dust- here’s how to reuse or redesign old jewelry.

Redesigning Old Jewelry

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This classic halo ring is rather aged in its style.

Examine the piece

The first thing to do when redesigning old jewelry is to examine the item and see what you can do with it. Here are a few ways to modify the item:

  • Change the color: If you’re not a fan of the color, you can change the appearance of the item by getting it plated with yellow gold, rose gold, or rhodium for a white gold appearance.
  • Change the stones: You may like the design of the jewelry but not the stone. Replacing the gemstone can create a drastic change in the appearance of the item, as certain opaque stones such as turquoise, jade, and onyx can “age” a design.
  • Change the type of jewelry: Jewelry conversion is when you change one form of jewelry to another. If you don’t wear earrings, use the design to make a ring or a pendant. Most items can be modified into another type of jewelry, so you can get creative about what you want to do to an existing piece.
  • Take out the existing stones and reset them into a new setting: If you just don’t like the design at all, it’s time to reuse the materials and get creative. Sketch out a design with a jeweler to see how you can come up with a unique design using the stones from the original item. 

Modify the jewelry

After you’ve decided on how you want to redesign old jewelry, the jeweler moves forward with the process.
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  • Plating: The item is thoroughly polished and cleaned before it’s placed into a plating tank. Electricity runs through the tank, causing a chemical reaction and fusing the gold or rhodium to the surface of the item. The process doesn’t affect stones in the design.
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  • Stone Replacement: The jeweler removes the original stone (keeping it intact if possible) and sources a new stone via a lapidary. The new stone may be recut to fit into the setting if the shape and size is irregular. After the new stone has been sourced, the jeweler sets it into the original design and polishes the item.

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    Two vintage sterling silver pins that we converted into rings for one of our clients.

  • Jewelry Conversion: In order to convert an item into another type of jewelry, the jeweler first has to separate the design portion from the other components. For instance, if you’re converting an earring into a ring, the jeweler needs to remove the earring post and solder the design of the earring onto a ring band. Pendants are fairly simple; the design simply needs a bail or jump ring soldered to the top for a chain to go through, while earrings need a jump ring and wire attached to the top, or a post soldered in the back.

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    A gold cross that we changed into a reversible pendant with diamonds and gemstones on each side.

  • Custom Creation Casting: If you’ve decided you absolutely hate the look of the current design, the jeweler will work on a custom creation for you. The jeweler first removes the stones from the original jewelry and sets them aside. Next, they create your new design in a 3D modeling software. This 3D design is then used to print out a wax mold from a 3D printer, and the mold is used to cast the new design in the metal of your choice. Once the casting is finished, the jeweler resets the new stones into the new design, and polishes and cleans the item.

 Now you’re all set on how to redesign old jewelry! If you want to get started on a project today, comment below and we’ll help you out.

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