What Does it Mean to 'Remodel' Jewellery?
Remodelling can mean:
- Replicating your existing design, using your original materials, when a piece of jewellery is so well loved and worn that it is no longer secure or comfortable to wear.
- Up-cycling the sentimental metal and stones of a piece of jewellery you've inherited and coming up with a new design that suits your personal taste.
- Taking precious metal and gem elements from multiple pieces of jewellery and turning them into one epic statement piece.
Remodelling jewellery is one of my favourite things to do! I get to recycle gold, platinum, silver, diamonds and gems and work closely with people to create something truly unique and individual. Jenna and I have been really excited to take on more remodelling jobs lately. We love the endless possibilities that come with taking something old and creating something new. We also love that it's absolutely, without a doubt, the most sustainable way to create jewellery!
If you're interested in making a time to discuss your options with us you can request an appointment.
Because not everyone knows that remodelling jewellery is not only possible but practical (and a wonderful adventure) I wanted to walk through a project I did a while ago.
This project started with an inherited ring and a soon-to-be wed couple. The ring was set with antique, single cut diamonds in white gold on a yellow gold band. While the couple wanted to keep the sentimental stones they wanted to create something unique and personal to them.
Could All the Gold and Diamonds be Recycled?
In this instance, almost. We had the gold tested and there was nothing of concern in the yellow gold alloy. We had to add a little bit of our gold to the mix to ensure we had enough metal to create the new design as there is always some waste created when hand manufacturing jewellery.
The white gold was not able to be recycled. It contained an element that would not have re-alloyed without causing a headache. Luckily it was a small amount of metal that was returned untouched.
The diamonds were all removed and checked for damage. We were lucky and they were all in great condition and perfect for incorporating into the new design.
What Was the Design Brief?
While they didn't know exactly what they wanted we spent an hour together discussing design ideas. This is genuinely one of my favourite parts of the whole jewellery making process. I love spending time with people, finding out what they do and don't like and letting my creative juices flow! The key points I jotted down during our consult were:
- Art Deco/Minimalist style
- Ring to sit as low to the finger as possible
- To use as many of the diamonds as possible between engagement and wedding ring (and add more?)
What Was the Design Process for Making a New Engagement Ring?
I took all my notes and the gold and diamonds from the original ring and got to designing! Using computer aided design (CAD) I came up with three designs. Some of the designs needed additional diamonds so I reached out to our recycled diamond suppliers to see what we could find. Single cut diamonds aren't super common so there was a bit of hunting involved! We got there in the end though and I designed around the stones that were available.
They chose the middle design, which I was thrilled with because I knew it was going to be a fun challenge to make. We made a few very minor tweaks and I sent through a video of the design for final confirmation.
Was the Engagement Ring Made by Hand?
Yes! I had a lot of fun with this one. I love creating things that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. In total this ring was made up of four separate pieces and six claws that were soldered in place one by one. I also get a real kick out of tucking hidden detail in and creating negative spaces. In this case I got some extra geometric shapes in the bridge underneath the diamonds.
Once assembled I had the small diamonds set into the halo before soldering in the claws as it allowed for a neater finish.
I know the photos make it look like I whipped the ring up in an afternoon. But, even with over 20 years of experience, this ring took a solid twelve hours of manual labour to create.
And the finished piece. And it's matching wedding ring. I will have to make sure I get a photo of the two rings together next time they're in for their complimentary, annual clean and polish :)
If you've made it this far, thanks for sticking with me! Please bring all your old jewellery by the studio, it really is one of my great passions breathing new life into jewellery that would otherwise sit in a draw for years.
Jenna and I would love to meet you and discuss all of your options, you can ask us anything or request an appointment here.