Repurposing and Modernizing Family Jewelry
  • Jun 20, 2023

Repurposing and Modernizing Family Jewelry

Inheriting a cherished piece of fine jewelry from a loved one is always a joy! This expression of love in picking someone to carry on your legacy takes a lot of thought and consideration. But that is the great thing about fine jewelry in that it is precious , carries value and can be repurposed to match your style if necessary. Custom design allows the new owner to desconstruct or redesign a fine piece of jewelry to suit the modern wearer. You cannot do that with a Victorian couch!

Planning a redesign with a client takes many steps.  Most often, the first thing a client needs to accept is that the person who gave you the jewelry would want you to use it and wear it in a way that is pleasing even if it means making some changes.  As I have been doing this for over 30 years, I have heard over and over again that women just want their fine jewelry to be utilized and have a future and a purpose.  Many recipients are guilty thinking about redesigning something they saw loved ones wear in their lifetime.  But times change and styles change and jewelry designers are able to preserve the past but restyle in a way that pays respect to the giver.

Redesign process:
1.  Make an appointment with our designer and bring the jewelry items in that you want to work with.  Depending on the complexity or the quantity of jewelry, plan on at least one hour to discuss the redesign.  If you are unsure on how long it will take, call the Studio and let's talk about what you have and what you want to achieve.  Leave the designing to us and cast your anxiety away!

2.  "Is it worth it?"  As jewelry designers, we do not necessarily look at pieces and declare them unworthy.  The priceless part of the decision is that someone loved you enough to gift the jewelry to you.  We look at design and if the piece has "good bones" and redesign potential.  You have to be sensible and decide what your budget is and how much you are willing to put in to it.  In the past, we have declined to break up a significant signed piece of historical jewelry.  Would you take a signed Tiffany lamp apart because you do not like it? 

3. "Is the quality of the jewelry worth messing with?"  As experts in gemology, metalsmithing and jewelry design, we will look at all the components and discuss if any needs or repairs are required to get to the final finished piece.  For example, the gemstone may be chipped or scratched and abraded.  Unmounting a gemstone during a redesign is the perfect time to get the stone recut or repolished.  
4.  "How much and how long?"  These questions are always answered in our design appointments.  How else will you get an idea of what it takes to modernize the inherited jewelry?  We offer a free one hour consultation.  We use models and photos of work we have done to walk you thru the design process and reassure both parties that you are on to a good new thing!  

5.  "What are my other options?"  If you just cannot get on board and really do not want the jewelry, one option is to scrap and sell the precious metals.  We can test any unstamped jewelry (gold or platinum) and evaluate the overall precious metal percentage and value it at the days market value.  This is great for recycling metals and reducing mining.  Gold recycling is the process of melting and/or chemically dissolving gold to separate it from other metals or non-valuable materials. In this way, you can recover gold in its purest form and re-insert it to the market.  Gold has only gotten more expensive with time.  For example, U.S. gold sold in the $350.00/oz-U.S. range in the 1980's compared to gold being at an all time high in recent times.  (At this writing April 10, 2023 gold is $1990.70oz U.S.). So even if you scrap the jewelry, you have benefitted from the investment.

You are the custodian of the next generation!  Jewelry will always represent love, wealth and fashion.  Museums exhibit grand jewelry from ancient times.  Fine jewelry is everlasting and desireable and an expression of our personalities.  Fine jewelry is a form of art for self and creative expression.  Fine jewelry is sentimental and collectable.  Fine jewelry is designed to be timeless allowing it to be passed down from generation to generation.