Making a new wedding ring from old gold, or creating new jewelry from old jewelry, has been our specialty since 1995!
If you’re wondering what to do with your old earrings, or what to do with an old engagement ring or wedding rings, or are interested in resetting grandma’s diamonds into a new ring, we can do it! We specialize in all kinds of custom jewelry design.
We're not a typical jewelery store. We’re makers, artisans, and Santa Fe New Mexico’s Green Business of the Year! Check out all our five star Google Reviews.
Here's how to get started right away!
Take a quick look at the photos below which will give you an understanding of what we can do at our shop. Then, 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. Then, we can discuss your project and how to move forward.
PLEASE NOTE: If you leave a comment at the end, please note sometimes it takes a day for me to get back to you. So, in general it's better to email or call.
If you want details in the various options that would allow you to transforming old jewelry to new jewelry, below is the most thorough explanation of how to repurpose old jewelry into new jewelry of anywhere online.
What to Do with Making Old Jewelry Into New Jewelery and Ideas for Old Wedding Rings
Jewelry has profound talismanic meaning and symbolism. A ring, bracelet, or necklace often carries spiritual sparkle or ancestral energy into a new generation. Using inherited old diamonds in a new ring or having old wedding rings redesigned into a brand-new piece of custom gold jewelry not only makes perfect sense, but can also save you money.
We can repurpose that old wedding ring or old gold jewelry to make a new wedding or engagement ring. We have transformed countless pieces—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’ve got you covered.
It all comes down to special skills developed over 80 years of combined bench experience as artisans and makers. And also, living and working in Santa Fe, NM where we are part of a Southwest jewelry fabrication tradition that stretches back 500 years to the Spanish Conquistadors.
We work with hand forged anvils, cow horn mallets, domed steel and a huge variety of specialty maker tools that give us a rare set of skills. To learn more, check out our Custom Jewelry page, with details on how we create your custom jewelfry from start to finish. You can even see how we make our Fairtrade Gold wedding rings by hand!
If you want to visit us in Santa Fe (virtually) and learn more about what makes us unique to do your job, check out this short video of our studio that shows the range of what we can do and the set of tools we've accumulated over the past 25 years of being in business:
Let me clarify how Reflective Jewelry is different...
While most jewelers focus on CAD/CAM computer programs, we hand make most of our jewelry designs in our Santa Fe, New Mexico Studio—from our Classic Comfort Fit wedding bands to our mixed-metal two-tone wedding rings.
Melting Gold Jewelry into New Jewelry: The Process
We can take an old ring, flatten and mill it thin, and incorporate it into another band. This gives you an infinite number of custom options if you want to combine our designs with your creative dreams.
We can also redesign old wedding rings into a new ring by melting the old material into a small ingot. We can do the same with an old bracelet, old pair of earrings—whatever gold you want us to use.
From the ingot, we can flatten the gold out and turn it into wire of various lengths from which we can actually make a new wedding ring of any width.
You can even send us a simple drawing for your custom idea. (See Case Study 7 at the bottom of this article.) Don’t worry about not being an artist! We can work with you.
As the only certified Fairtrade Gold jeweler in the USA, we are used to making rings from scratch, totally in house—and we have special tools and skills that allow us to do this.
Here's an illustrative series of photos that show how we work, followed by detailed information on numerous options you might consider:
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 it Cost to Remake a Ring from Old Jewelry?
As you can see, the process of redesigning an engagement ring or wedding ring is a complex and multiphase job that can take over five hours, and we can encounter all kinds of issues depending on the alloys in the gold itself.
Let’s say that you want to make a simple wedding ring, the kind your parents or grandparents might have worn—or a comfort fit: meaning the edges on the inside are narrower than the middle, which can be either domed on top or flat topped.
The cost to remake this style of ring from old jewelry is $450 per ring. If you want a second ring and it has the exact same width as the first, then that costs an additional $250.
Let me elaborate….
Because we specialize in custom design, we can also incorporate a vast array of design elements on top of that band. This allows you to work with a two tone engagement ring or wedding ring style—using different colored metal on the borders and center of the ring.
If you want some ideas, start with looking at our two tone wedding rings. Or you can send us a design that you would want on your ring.
You can put any finish you want on our rings. Whether it be hammered, textured, or a matte finish, there’s no extra charge
One thing to keep in mind is that most likely, due to complexities in our manufacturing, we’ll have to use our own gold to create the design element—though we can use your gold as the base of the ring.
Does it Matter What Old Jewelry is Used to Make into New Jewelry?
The short answer is, no.
Take this custom design, CASE STUDY 1, for example:
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.
Whether you're sending us old rings or any other piece of old gold jewelry, such as old bracelets, pendants, or earrings, it makes no difference what jewelry we redesign into a wedding ring.
The price stays the same if what you want is a simple classic wedding band like your grandmother or grandfather wore.
However, we do not typically melt white gold with yellow gold. Making custom new jewelry from gold using white gold takes special consideration.
Redesigning Wedding Rings and Engagement Rings from Old White Gold Jewelry
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.
Here’s what’s essential…
If you want a smooth, high-polish finish, we will do our best but there might be small impurities that show through. This issue comes up specifically when using old white gold old to make new white gold jewelry or new white gold wedding rings.
Sometimes in the polishing we find tiny pits on the surface of the white gold wedding ring or engagement ring. Some of our customers don’t mind. But for those who do, we highly recommend a design like our Playa style rings or rings with a hammered finish.
As an example of our work using white gold, see CASE STUDY 2 here:
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. You might notice some of the small pits mentioned above in the "After" photo. To some, this adds character to the ring! But if it's not your style, we can simply buy your gold at 93% of its value and create your design using new white gold.
What if There is Too Much or Not Enough Gold to Make New Jewelry from Old?
What if you have a size five, 3mm-wide ring, and you want to create a size nine 6mm-wide ring? We can do it!
What we will do is add Fairtrade Gold, which we source from this mine. While there are over 250 Fairtrade Gold jewelers in the UK alone, we are the only certified Fairtrade Gold jeweler in the entire US! We believe that Fairtrade Gold is the most precious and ethical gold in the world.
For nearly fifteen years we’ve been pioneering ethical sourcing in the North American jewelry space.
If we do use Fairtrade Gold, we’ll charge you simply for the additional gold needed for your project.
If there is gold left over from your wedding ring redesign, we will either send it back to you or we’ll buy it at 93% of spot price. That's basically using your gold as cash, because we can apply this gold as a credit toward the custom work that we do. Please note also that we fix the gold price for purchase at the time that we receive the gold from you in our shop.
Why Not Just Cast Using the Old Gold to Make New Rings?
When casting rings, best practice is to purchase alloy from a supply house and mix it with 24K (pure) gold.
If there was a way to refine your gold to 24K, we could use a casting process. But refiners capable of doing that kind of work do not refine the small amounts of gold because it is not financially viable.
Recasting old gold 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. You can end up with small bubbles or other irregularities on the surface of the ring. Therefore, it is always preferable to use pure metal with fresh alloy.
But there’s an additional issue with redesigning old wedding rings into new custom jewelry. Suppose we melted down an old ring, intending to use this gold to cast a new ring. When casting with old gold, best practice is to add a percentage of new gold in with the cast.
We also find that often our clients just send in one or two rings and there's not much extra to make the new ring. But there needs to be extra gold in the casting process for the sprew—the piece of metal that attaches the wax to a structure within the casting flask.
What you need to know is this:
Casting from old gold poses difficult challenges. That's why we remake old jewelry into new jewelry by hand. Check out the handmade beauty crafted in our Santa Fe, NM studio in these two case studies:
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!"
Recycling Old Wedding Rings or Jewelry into Our Designs
Suppose you have an old gold bracelet, earrings, or pendant. We can melt down that gold jewelry to create new jewelry. Recycle your old wedding ring or jewelry into anything you like: wedding rings or even possibly other jewelry, such as a pair of simple cufflinks or even the heart design shown above in Case Study 3.
The process for doing this is pretty much the same as we've shown in the photos at the top of this article. We melt down the gold, roll it out and form it into a flat sheet. From here, we cut and form the gold sheet or wire from your actual pieces of gold. We take that gold wire and incorporate it into our regular maker processes. We can then add our designs on to this piece of gold which allows an infinite number of design options—using our motifs or creating motifs of your choice as an overlay.
Making New Custom Designs Using Old Jewelry
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.
We can modify one of the engagement rings offered on our website or create the custom wedding ring of your dreams.
For more detail on this, check out this 2 minute video on our Custom Jewelry Design process.
There are some limitations on what we can make by hand, but we're cabable of doing a huge range of projects, as you'll see if you watch the video above. Just give us a call and we'll talk about it!
Is Recycling Your Gold Eco Friendly?
Despite white other “ethical” jewelers may misleadingly claim, the answer is, not particularly. The bottom line is recycled gold is greenwashing.
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 or recycling your own gold is that the gold has talismanic importance. Using your gold can also save you money.
If you want to learn more about this issue, read my article: 15 Reasons You Should Buy Fairtrade Gold Jewelry Vs. Recycled Gold Jewelry.
Resetting Diamond Engagement Rings
Resetting diamond engagement rings with your diamond or gemstone is very common for us! 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.
Case Studies: Jewelry Redesign Before and After
Finally, here are a few additional case studies to demonstrate what we can do:
CASE STUDY 5
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!
And here' are my initial considerations
Let's say that, with the two small rings, melted into one, you want a basic ring such as this classic wedding ring style. That's easy for us to do.
I don't know whether she has white gold or yellow gold.... Sometimes with white gold 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-- the issue is, the new ring has to be wide enough to accomodate the diamonds. Flush setting, which is setting small diamonds (under 3mm) inside the ring itself costs $39 each. 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 6
Here's an example of us using a customer's center stone sapphire and small accent diamonds to make an entirely new ring. In this case we did not re-use the gold, but gave the customer 93% of its spot value toward the making of the new ring.
Celtic motifs are near and dear to our hearts, so we were thrilled to create this Trinity Knot design!
CASE STUDY 7
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.
We hope this provides at least a starting point! If you have any more questions, let us know. The best thing for you to do is 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. Once it comes through to my personal email, I'll approve it and respond back. (This can take less than an hour or 24 hours, depending upon what I'm involved with at the shop!)
Thanks for taking the time to read this article. We hope to work with you!
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.