From Old to New - Repurposing Your Forgotten Jewelry

by Sue Howard March 17, 2017

From Old to New - Repurposing Your Forgotten Jewelry

In my time as a Master Jeweler, one of my favorite things to do is repurpose jewelry to create a new, special, one-of-a-kind, custom piece.  Sometimes I’m melting down several thin gold chains to create a more solid piece. Other times, I’m working with family heirlooms. Maybe the husband of a customer has passed away recently and his wife would like to turn his old war medals into something she can wear and keep with her daily.  Or sometimes, the jewelry may simply be outdated and out of style and the customer just needs an update. There are so many custom jewelry design possibilities, it only takes one conversation to learn about your options, and how your jewelry can take on a new life.


Something especially exciting for me is listening to a customer’s story about the pieces he or she is bringing in for me to work with. I enjoy getting a sense of who I am working with and trying to incorporate that spirit and emotion into the overall design of the jewelry. In this particular video, I was tasked with taking a collection of my customer’s family jewelry…some broken, some forgotten, some out of style...and melting it down to create a wedding band for a soon-to-be-husband.


Of course, there can be a sense of fear that sets in for customers when it comes to handing over their heirloom jewelry. Many people hang on to their jewelry for sentimental reasons, despite the fact that they have never and will never wear it. That is a very real feeling and the sentimental part can be very difficult to grapple with. I find it is so important to include my customer in the process of repurposing their jewelry, checking in with them every step of the way. Even though I’m sure your Grandmother would much rather see her old jewelry being enjoyed and worn, instead of hanging out, forgotten, in the back of your drawer, you may need some hand-holding along the way and that is 100% to-be-expected. And it is ok!


It should also be said that we don’t have to make a completely new piece. Maybe you would love your necklace if the pendant were just a little different. Maybe you think the setting on your ring would be more eye-catching surrounded by different precious stones. Whatever your thoughts, I am here to work with you.  Jewelry design is a craft, yes. But when you trust me with your priceless possessions and ask me to breathe new life into them, I want it to be on your terms. Without fail, I will always work with you to make sure that your needs are being met, your different possibilities are being explored, and YOU are being incorporated into your new  custom jewelry design (that was made entirely for you).



Sue Howard
Sue Howard

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