SPECIAL NOTE: WE CAN REDESIGN OLD JEWELRY USING YOUR GOLD AND GEMS TO CREATE ANYTHING YOU WANT, from a pavé setting to converting a ring into a necklace. Check out our 130+ Five Star Google Reviews. Then, call my cell at 505-699-8179 to discuss your project. Marc Choyt, co-owner
Making a new wedding ring from old gold, collaborating in old wedding ring redesign, or creating new jewelry from old jewelry is our specialty!
Having your grandmother's wedding rings or gold jewelry redesigned into necklace allows you to wear that connection to your ancestors. Additionally, with gold around $2000 an ounce, repurposing jewelry saves you money! Many of our current customers even pay for the job with excess gold, which we'll purchase at 93% of spot value.
If you want to repurpose old earrings, bracelets, an engagement ring or wedding ring into new jewelry or rings, or are considering converting a ring to a necklace in a jewelry redesign process, we are the jewelers you've been looking for.
This article, which specifically illustrates more with great detail more repurposing jewelry options than you'll find anywhere else online, is divided into four sections:
1. About us: This covers who we are and what we're capable of doing in our repurposing jewelry projects. Your material has tremendous personal value, so it's probably important that you get a sense of our company. You can also explore our website further and see our design line.
2. Case studies: Over the past few years we've done hundreds of custom jewelery from old jewelry projects. However, only just recently did we start doing before and after shots. You'll find some of these jewelry redesign before and after photos in this article.
3. How we redesign old jewelry into new: This section, mainly studio photos, shows how we actually make an old wedding ring into a new wedding ring.
4. Costing: What will your jewelry redesign project cost? Some of our redesign old jewelry project have a fixed price, while for others you'll have to contact me for a quote. The good news is, if you're on a budget, as most of us are during COVID, we have ideas to cut costs!
PART 1: ABOUT US
Since 1995, we have been making new jewelry from old, focusing on old wedding ring redesign and creating new jewelry from old gold.
We also specialize in all kinds of custom jewelry design using old gold that our customers send us from all over North America to make new pendants, bracelets or even earrings.
Visit us in Santa Fe New Mexico! We're Santa Fe's 2019 Green Business of the Year. Our workshop is adjacent to the store.
Three things give us an extraordinary capacity for this kind of custom work that few others can match:
First, we can design just about anything any other jeweler can using CAD/CAM computer programs using your gold! That means that if you want a three-diamond ring, reset an engagement ring, create earrings with 60 pavé diamond, or simply to convert a wedding ring into a pendant or cross, we can do it.
Second, we are experts in hand fabrication using repurposing old jewelry using your gold and gems. Though we have technical expertise, we are designers, artisans, and makers. We have over eighty years of combined bench work experience. For example, while most jewelers (including us) can design something on a computer and send it off to be made, few have the skill to take on this sort of project:
From old and forgotten, to new and "absolutely exquisite!"
We are part of a Southwest jewelry fabrication tradition that dates back to the Spanish Conquistadors. We work with hand-forged anvils, rolling mills, cow horn mallets, domed steel and a huge variety of specialty maker tools used to cut metal by hand, forge designs, and stamp out motifs.
Third, With most projects, I'm the lead contact and project manager. Except when I am on vacation, (which isn't often because we're so busy even during COVID), you get to deal directly with the owner of a small designer jewelry studio. That's me.
Here's the bottom line:
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,we can take on projects that few jewelers would ever consider.
PART 2: Repurposing Jewelry Case Studies
CASE STUDY 1: Using Your Material To Redesign Jewelry Based On Our Designs
One of the most popular options for our jewelry redesign customers is to choose one of the designs in our extensive line and use old gold to make something that they love.
This means that you can turn a wedding ring into a pendant of our design, for example. (And, even if we typically make the piece in gold and silver, we can make it in solid gold.)
Though we've done many projects where we convert a ring into a necklace, in this case study we show two old wedding ring into new wedding ring options.
Here, one of our customers choose to make our Donegal Engagement Ring design using his gold and his grandmother's nearly 2-carat diamond. You can see below the material he gave us on the left — except for the diamond which I had immediately removed for safe keeping.
We’re often resetting heirloom diamonds in engagement ring redesigns.
In the second case, 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. I don’t have the before image in this case, just the after.
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 borders. Then, we finished the design, using old diamonds in a new ring!
Whether you're sending us inherited old rings or any other piece of old gold jewelry, such as old bracelets, or earrings, it makes no difference what jewelry we redesign into a wedding ring.
What's really cool is that we can use any of the motifs you find other jewelry. You can look at our necklaces for women, for example, for inspiration. If you don’t find what you want, let us know what you're looking for. I’m sure we can make it!
Redesigning Wedding Rings And Engagement Rings From Old White Gold Jewelry
CASE STUDY 2 involved using white gold, which poses its own set of challenges.
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 when repurposing jewelry.
Here’s what’s essential for you to know…
If you want a smooth, high-polish finish, about 75% of the time, there's no issue. But about 25% of the time, small impurities in the form of tiny pits show through. This issue comes up specifically when using old white gold to make new white gold jewelry or new white gold wedding rings.
Some of our customers embrace this look. But for those who don't like it, we highly recommend, when considering ideas for old wedding rings, a design like our Playa style rings or rings with a hammered finish.
We can hammer, texture or matte the surface of your old wedding ring redesigned at no extra cost. But if you opt for a smooth high-polish finish, you may end up with a surface as shown below:
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.
To some, this pits shown on the upper part of the right ring add a depth of character. But if this doesn't speak to you, and you don't want a textured finish, we can simply buy your gold at 93% of its value and create your design using new white gold.
Here's what I recommend:
If you want a high polish, let's just go for it. If not, or if we do have pitting, then we can talk about options. Finishes are always applied as the last stage in ring production.
Casting Using Old Gold To Make A Custom Wedding Or Engagement Ring
CASE STUDY 3
Actually, this isn't quite "before" and "after." Case study 3 involves casting a new ring using old gold, to make old jewelry into new jewelry.
When casting rings, best practice is to purchase alloy from a supply house and mix it with 24K (pure) gold. Recasting old gold from an old ring can pose difficult challenges due to the fickle and unpredictable nature of heat, precious metal, and unknown alloys in a hot flask.
While the vast majority of jewelers will not even consider using your gold to cast a new ring, we have successfully done it so many times that we say, no problem!
We were asked to duplicate the ring on the left, which is made in base metal. We used the customer's old gold to make the new ring on the right, which we set with a ruby and lab grown diamonds.
Incidentally, we source our lab grown diamonds from the Diamond Foundry, the only carbon neutral lab grown diamond manufacturer.
But here's what you have to know before you start:
There needs to be a lot of extra gold in the casting process for the sprew—the piece of metal that attaches the wax to a structure within the casting flask. The sprew can have as much gold by weight than the ring.
So, if you want us to cast a ring using your gold, send us lot of gold. Or, we can move forward using our gold to create the cast. In this case, you would have to be OK knowing your new ring will not be 100% your gold, but a combo of our gold and your gold.
But what this option does allow is for us to make virtually any engagement or wedding ring that you can imagine. Learn more about custom projects here.
Converting A Ring To A Necklace
CASE STUDY 4
This is the kind of project that involves our bench work skill to convert a ring to a necklace.
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 converted the ring into a necklace in the shape of a heart.
Heres's another example... For this project, we melted the white and yellow gold from the ring on the left—which belonged to our customer's grandfather—and made the new two-tone ring on the right. We had some extra gold from this project, which we used to create a heart pendant for our customer's grandmother which served as a wedding gift for an additional $175.
If you want to turn a ring into a necklace, we could actually do a much more extensive project than just bending wire. This would involve creating a wax carving and casting out the new design with your gold.
Unusual Ideas For Old Wedding Ring Redesign
CASE STUDY 5 is an idea for inherited old wedding rings. Our client, when considering ideas for an inherited old wedding rings, 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. After completion we sent her back all her gemstones.
In the end, our client wrote, "I received the ring and I love it. It fits perfectly too!"
Another project that illustrates our capacity as makers with over 80 years of bench handwork experience...This is the ring from the video early in this article:
On the left is our customer’s 14K gold baby bracelet on top of a silver spoon. She also gave us her diamond. What we did was create the ring to the right, using elements of the gold as design motifs on the ring. The silver spoon was melted and became the base of the ring.
Redesign Custom Jewelry Using Your Gems
CASE STUDY 6 involves resetting diamonds and rubies.
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.
For this custom jewelry project, we recreated the pawprint of a client's beloved dog on a pendant. More details on this here!
This customer actually sent us a muddy paw print on a piece of paper after her beloved dog passed away. We collaborated closely, coming up with this pendant design which we made entirely by hand.
Here's a short video on our Custom Jewelry Design process.
Combining Two Rings Into One
CASE STUDY 7 is for those who may be confronted by a painful qustion: what do do with a wedding ring after a death? Combining two rings into one may be one of the most poignant options for old wedding rings.
In this case, we were contacted by a gentleman who had lost his wife. We combined his wedding ring with her wedding and engagement ring to make a new ring. We also set the diamond from the engagement ring into the new wedding ring.
In combining two rings into one, we can also set any gemstone, from a small melee to a center gemstone, into the new ring.
We are always honored to do these kinds of projects.
Resetting Diamond Engagement Rings: Using Old Diamonds In A New Ring
CASE STUDY 8 involves resetting diamond engagement rings. Using old diamonds in a new ring is such a common request that we always have these kinds of projects going through our shop.
We can take your old gold and make a new ring with it, or we can reset your diamonds into one of our designs. Here's a recent job we did using diamonds from our client's mother and grandmother:
In this example below, the customer provided us with a diamond and two old signet-style rings which we melted down and used to make a new engagement ring:
We hammered the ring for additional texture and used the extra gold to pay for the project. The ring itself cost $450 and setting $165.
Another example: the ring below is one of our designs, but was reset with a customer's diamond of over two carats:
What a beauty! Our Open Rope Engagement Ring designs, some of our most popular, feature a low-set center stone—perfect for an active lifestyle.
Jewelry Redesign Before And After
With CASE STUDY 9 we cover a few additional jewelry redesign options. The two examples of old wedding ring redesign show how the transformation can be quite dramatic.
The "before" photo here is an older, inherited piece. The "after" photo is the engagement ring which used the customer's diamonds and sapphire.
In the case below, we brainstormed with considering various ideas for old wedding rings. She settled on this one-of-a-kind design based on one of our existing designs:
In this case we did not re-use the gold. We gave the customer 93% of its spot value toward the making of the new ring.
Custom Jewelry Design Projects
CASE STUDY 10 shows a few examples of full-on custom jewelry.
Here again, the customer provided the diamonds and a basic design. We drew up this sketch and then created this piece entirely by hand:
You can always 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.
But now for something completely different for a custom design from old jewelry:
We used the gold from the rings on the left to create the gold band with a silver backing shown on the right. The customer sent us a drawing of the pattern which we put on the ring itself.
And last, here’s a great gift for those elk hunters (like myself) reading this post:
This client sent us his old bracelet and his elk tooth and we carved and fabricated the ring on the right. Custom repurposing jewelry projects like this run about $950 or so.
CASE STUDY 11 involves 24K Gold!
While most wedding rings are made in 14K or 18K, because the alloy makes gold stronger, we can create wedding rings of any carat gold you wish, even 24K gold.
The photograph above shows the two rings that are made of 24K gold. The customer sent us a pure gold ounce from which we fabricated the rings by hand:
Is Recycling Your Gold Eco Friendly?
Now, a few final points before we conclude...
Despite white other “ethical” jewelers may misleadingly claim, the answer is, not particularly. The bottom line is recycled gold as an eco-friendly proposition is just another form of greenwashing.
We are poineers in ethical sourcing in North America and the only Fairtrade Gold jewelers in the USA. There are over 250 in the UK alone, but here, the movement has not taken off. If you want to know why, take a deep dive into my Ethical Sourcing Exposé.
But the key point is this:
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. I explain why in this July 2020 feature article I wrote for Canada's top jewelry trade magazine.
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 inherited gold in a new engagement ring, or considering what to do with an inherited wedding ring is that the gold has talismanic importance and saving money.
If we need more gold for your ring, we can use recycled gold or Fairtrade Gold. Fairtrade gold is better, as I explain in my 15 Reasons You Should Buy Fairtrade Gold Jewelry vs. Recycled Gold Jewelry.
PART 3: Melting Gold Jewelry Into New Jewelry
These photos (and video) below show how we work with most of our old wedding ring resdigned projects, which involve handmade fabrication.
Melting gold jewelry is the first step to redesign old jewelry. This video shows how we do it:
Because we're melting it down, we can use gold from any source to repurpose old jewelry. And, it doesn't matter so much if we end up mixing carats. We can combine a 10K ring with a 14K ring, melting together.
If we are going to cast, we would use this gold as shown above in its ingot form.
But with hand-fabricating, we take that lump of old gold and put it through our mill shown below:
On the very left, here, you can see the gold wire coming through the mill.
Even if we are going to convert a ring to a necklace, old jewelry into new jewelry involves rolling out metal. The key difference is that in jewelry redesign projects (aka non-rings) we create a sheet of gold from which we cut out design motifs.
For a basic wedding ring redesign, as you'll see, we modify the wire shape.
This gold wire is what we get from running a gold ingot through the roller mill above.
This modification—shaping and forming the metal, by hand, into the desired width and thickness—is the key to redesigning an old wedding ring.
Once we have the size, width and thickness correct for your ring redesign, we shape and form the new ring, using a special type of pliers:
It requires tremendous skill and takes time to get everything just right. Below the ring is further shaped on a mandrill.
Our four jewelers, an all-woman team, bring decades of maker experience to redesigned old jewelry and redesigned wedding rings.
Once this is polished up, we have the ring shown!
This design is our basic 3mm flat-topped comfort fit ring, but again we can make in any width.
The process of redesigning an engagement ring or wedding ring is a complex and multiphase job that can take many hours. Sometimes, when we use an inherited gold wedding or engagement ring we have to endlessly polish to get out pits and impurities because the alloys in the gold come to the surface.
This is particularly true when we repurpose gold chain, which can have a lot of solder in it. Pitting happens about 25% of the time when repurposing white gold and about 5% of the time when repurposing yellow gold. In almost all cases, we can fix the pitting. When we can't, we can explore options such as a hammer or textured finish.
Let me elaborate: on this question how we go about reusing inherited gold in a new engagement ring, or what to do with an inherited wedding ring, every project is somewhat of a custom design project.
The good new is: you have endless options!
As long as we are making new jewelry from old jewelry with gold, we can make an infinite number of old wedding ring redesigns in gold or silver. If you want something in platinum, we can purchase your platinum at 93% of spot price, and put this toward your jewelry redesign.
PART 4: How Much Does Jewelry Repurposing Cost?
One of the primary concerns when using old jewelry to make new jewelry is cost. Many wedding ring redesign or engagement ring redesign projects are fabricated by entirely by hand in our shop, as illustrated below.
Jewelry redesign cost depends mainly on the complexity of the project. Our basic projects, which involves melting old jewelry into new jewelry starts at $450.
For that, we’ll make a comfort fit flatted topped ring or our comfort fit domed ring, as shown in the photo below.
These comfort fit flat-topped and domed rings are both 6mm wide, but can be made in any width. Learn more about comfort fit rings here and see our selection here.
The price is $450 regardless of the size and width.
If you want a second ring and it has the exact same width as the first, then that costs an additional $250. That's because we don't have to go through all the complex processes of melting and rolling out your gold, as shown in more detail in this article here.
So, one question that often comes up is, do you save money on this kind of old wedding ring redesign? The answer is: given the price of gold, which is hovering around $2000 ounce, you do save money in making new rings from old.
Here's another key point:
The $450 price assumes you provide enough gold.
Otherwise, we can use recycled gold or Fairtrade Gold, sourced from this mine. We are the only Fairtrade Gold jewelers in the entire USA. (I tell why in this article I wrote for Canada's top jewelry trade magazine.)
But what if you want your old wedding rings redesigned and you don't have enough gold or budget?
We can still work with you!
Ideas For Old Wedding Rings Repurposing That Save Money
Let's say that you want to have old wedding rings redesigned. Your existing material is a 14K gold ring weighing a fifth of an ounce. Maybe it's two 3mm rings that are size 6. You want a size 10 ring that is 4mm wide.
Plus, you're asking "how much does it cost to get a ring made?" because of strict budget reasons. Adding recycled gold and Fairtrade Gold will be expensive!
Here's the good news: we have three options to save you money when considering ideas for old wedding rings!
1. Alloy down your gold. Simply speaking, if we add yellow gold alloy to the amount of gold you have, the material may end up 10K (.417 gold content) vs. 14K (.585 gold content.) The cost for this is just $25. The ring will still be gold — it will just have less gold content.
There is obviously a difference in gold color. The higher the carat of gold, the more the gold looks...gold. But don't worry about it. Your ring will still look great. We often make rings that are just 8K (one third gold) and they look great! If the reasons for your repurposing is what to do with grandma's wedding ring, the carat of the gold really doesn't matter.
2. Sell us your gold. If you're wondering, "where can I get my gold melted down," send it to us! We'll buy it from you at 93% of spot price — and put this toward your wedding ring redesign cost. We can also apply extra gold value from any old jewelry into new jewelry project.
If you are not sure whether your old chain is real gold or merely plated, send it along anyway. If it is real gold, I'll credit you. If it is not, I'll send it back to you.
Spot price is fixed on the London Bullion Market price on the day your materials are received in our shop.
3. Recycle old jewelry within your wedding ring redesign. Use extra gold that you have from jewelry you don't care about to mix with your wedding rings in the wedding ring redesign project. We can melt all your gold together to make new rings from old rings.
One final idea that can also save you money!
Suppose that you have 14K white gold rings and you want to make 14K yellow gold rings. I will exchange your white gold for yellow gold, one for one. The fee for that service is just $25.
How Much Does It Cost To Get A Ring Custom Made On CAD/CAM using your gold and gems?
Now, if your project is more complex or full-on custom and we can't build it by hand, we can produce it using CAD/CAM as shown below.
When you are considering ideas for old wedding rings, or custom jewelry from old jewelry, start by sending us your design idea. We can assist with design decisions and we will give you a quote to make it.
Whatever you want to make, we can produce a customized version of it.
CAD/CAM software, used by most jewelers these days, involves designing a model on a computer and printing this in wax.
CAD/CAM wedding ring redesign costs depend upon the nature of each project. Really simple CAD production can be as little as $650.
But, generally, rings with gemstones are $950 and upward, depending upon the complexity of the project.
This redesigning wedding rings project, for example, was also done on CAD/CAM and cost $1500:
This customer had just lost her husband, and she wanted us to take his wedding ring and her engagement ring and engagement diamond to create a new design. I consulted with her extensively, and she chose this design which symbolizes a new wholeness and the loss as well.
But what about the cost of other jewelry redesign projects? Making a ring into a necklace, or resetting a diamond, for example....
Again, we need to just talk because pricing varies according to the scope of the project and materials. But depending on the time and complexity, they generally start at around $650.
Gemstone And Diamond Resetting Cost
The good news is, we will happily set your diamonds and colored gemstones, even rough gemstones into your wedding or engagement ring redesign.
In fact, probably about 30% of the repurposed designer jewelry we make involves using our customers' own gemstones.
Here, one of our jewelers is shown setting a diamond into a custom engagement ring that uses our ever-popular Flores motif.
The cost of custom ring setting, or resetting diamonds into a new ring, really varies according to the setting type, size of the stone, type of stone and complexity of the project.
But I can still offer you some general examples of costs we typically charge when we 're repurposing rings. Please note that we cannot use your gold and silver for the mounting of gemstones. We typically purchase them from jewelry supply houses, ready-made.
Here are five examples along with our general pricing for material in 14K gold:
1. Flush setting. Also known as "gypsy setting," we can do this type of setting for gemstones up to 2.5mm. There's no extra material involved. We simply drill a hole into the metal and set the stone. We charge $39
2. Bezel setting. This price has many variables, such as karat of metal and size of stone. A 3mm diamond with a 14K bezel in our ring would run in the $60 range. A 5mm bezel-set diamond would be about $150. The best thing to do is to call and discuss your project with me.
3. Channel setting/Pave. The price mainly depends upon how many gemstones and the nature of the project iself.
4. Prong setting. Typically, prong setting of 5 mm gemstone can range from $100 to $200, depending upon the quality of the setting.
Honestly, it is difficult to quote exact pricing in an article like this, but I just wanted to give you some idea. We are very transparent about our pricing structure.
Two final critical points!
First, we generally have some flexibility in jewelry redesign cost. For example, suppose you want to add gemstones but you cannot afford them. You can send the repurposed jewelry back to us in a year, and we can reset the diamond or gemstones then.
I can also offer you a payment plan that works for you. The key point is, I will do the best I can do meet your budget. There are a lot of variables in jewelry repurposing jobs.
Also, while we generally require 50% down before we begin the repurpose jewelry job, often I can waive that fee because the gold you send in serves as a deposit.
Second, we do charge for shipping on repurposing jobs.
For simple repurposing wedding ring projects that do not contain expensive material, insured return shipping can run between $15 and $20. Sometimes, however, we receive high-value diamonds that might cost upwards of $50 to ship back.
In these cases, we will contact you with the return shipping cost to ask how much insurance you'd like.
We hope this provides at least a starting point for what to do with old gold jewelry! If you have any more questions, call me 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. It can take me 24 hours to get back to you, particularly on the weekends.
PS: One more thing: shipping. I get many questions over how to get the gold to me. We recommend US Post, insured. The postman comes into our store and we sign for high value packages.
Send the jewelry to me, Attn: Marc , Reflective Jewelry, 912 Baca Street, Santa Fe, NM 87505.