There’s nothing more sentimental than inheriting a magnificent piece of heirloom jewelry. Whether it’s a piece that’s been in your family for generations, or something special that a relative’s been keeping just for you, heirloom jewelry is truly priceless. Unfortunately for some, their heirloom jewelry just isn’t suited to their style. Maybe it’s an ornate pair of earrings, or a ring that’s two sizes too tiny. Whatever the case may be, there are countless ways you can create something spectacular by redesigning or repurposing your heirloom jewelry.
What is Heirloom Jewelry?
Heirloom jewelry pieces are those which are passed down from one generation to the next. Be it a precious strand of pearls that belonged to your great grandmother, or a timeless diamond tennis bracelet from a distant aunt, heirlooms give you a glimpse into your family’s unique history. While heirloom jewelry grants us a sneak peek at generations passed, it also tends to be a bit dated. In fact, many of these time-honored treasures wind up unworn and shoved in the back of jewelry boxes. Fortunately, there are an abundance of options for turning your heirloom jewelry into a piece you’ll want to wear with pride.
Choosing the Perfect Piece
If you’ve inherited a collection of items, you may be debating over which item to alter. Many people grapple with guilt about modifying such cherished possessions, which is perfectly normal. It’s natural to have hesitations, but keep in mind that it’s still the same prized piece, just adjusted to your taste. When choosing the right item to repurpose, there are a few factors to consider.
First, which types of jewelry do you prefer wearing? Some people favor wearing a modest pendant necklace, while others tend to opt for earrings or bracelets. The piece you choose to repurpose should be one you’ll feel comfortable wearing. If you have a habit of fidgeting with your hands, then you may want to forgo a bracelet or ring for a necklace or earrings.
Another thing to keep in mind is the quality of the heirloom jewelry in question. Are the pieces made from genuine precious metal? Are the diamonds or gemstones still fairly durable? It’s not recommended to repurpose any items deemed as costume jewelry, like that of Chanel or Versace. Costume pieces can be easily damaged by standard jewelry repair techniques like polishing or steam cleaning, and are best maintained in their original form.
Meeting with a Jeweler
Before moving forward with plans to repurpose your heirloom jewelry, you should first meet with a reputable jeweler. They’ll help walk you through the process, as well as answer any questions you may have. If you’re short on ideas for sprucing up your beloved belonging, a jeweler will be able to give you some suggestions that’ll stir up your imagination. Once you have a sense of what you want, your jeweler will work to bring your concept to life with care and impressive attention to detail.
Ideas for Upgrading Your Heirloom Jewelry
- Wear your heirloom jewelry in a new way- Perhaps you have a piece of heirloom jewelry you love, but don’t feel comfortable wearing as it was intended. Not to worry! With a little creativity, you can rethink how the piece is worn to make it work for your style. A long necklace can be transformed into a bracelet with a few wraps around the wrist, while a ring can be re-imagined as a delicate pendant.
- Turn a larger piece into several small pieces- The diamonds from an antique brooch can be used to create a pleasing pair of diamond studs. Or you can take the gemstones from an ultra-glamorous cocktail ring and turn them into a matching pendant and bracelet. Most heirloom jewelry originates from a period when jewelry was handcrafted from metals and gems of the utmost quality. In other words, these treasures, as well as each element that comprises them, were designed to last a lifetime.
- Reset a precious diamond or gemstone- Have you recently inherited your grandmother’s engagement ring? Or maybe you’ve been gifted a beautiful antique brooch that’s been in your family for centuries. Breathe new life into your beloved heirloom by resetting the precious stones. Plenty of people reset heirloom diamonds or gemstones to craft something splendid. It’s a chance to carry a piece of your loved one with you wherever you go, and an opportunity to create something you can pass on to your own children.
- Upgrade your metal- As mentioned, heirloom jewelry can be a bit old-fashioned and outdated. Perhaps you have an incredible old mine cut diamond that looks a little dull in its yellow gold setting. Upgrading the metal can make a world of difference. Swapping yellow gold with platinum will help give your diamond a brighter and more radiant appearance.
Redesign Heirloom Jewelry in San Diego
At Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers in San Diego, our expert jewelers specialize in custom jewelry creation, and have decades of experience working with antique and vintage heirloom pieces. Combining old-world craftsmanship with the most modern drafting techniques, our master jewelers can make your most irreplaceable items look as modern and eye-catching as ever. Visit our store today to meet with one of our specialists, and watch your heirloom jewelry come to life as something new and extraordinary.