Designing with Antique Diamonds: Kelly and James’ Story

Antique diamonds in two wedding rings

Kelly's rings were like these, but with super thin and worn shanks

This is a story of how diamonds from Kelly's grandmother with love, turned into a beautiful wedding set for Kelly and James.

Kelly called me because she had a unique need, heading toward her wedding. She had two rings from her grandmother that she’d been given and wondered how to use them in her wedding set. I’d helped a friend of hers with her a wedding ring set design using a diamond from her aunt. Kelly wanted to see what I could do for her.

Kelly’s grandmother had had a long and happy marriage. I understood Kelly’s excitement about using her grandmother’s special rings.

There were two things going on that I wanted to deal with right away however. Both the rings were very worn because of the years of wear they had lived through.

Two Compelling Reasons to Alter the Setting on Inherited Jewelry

I knew that just sizing the rings to Kelly’s finger size and polishing them was not going to make them last for the years that Kelly and James would need for their wedding rings. That was a practical reason for discussing re-designing. But not the most compelling reason.

I knew that Kelly was not marrying her grandmother, but marrying the wonderful James. When you're getting married, your wedding jewelry is your most important jewelry. It needs to be thought out and stand for your individual lives and your lives together. Leaving a ring unchanged from someone else's marriage, violates that rule.

Kelly and James Wanted to Re-Design

White Gold and Diamond Wedding Rings

Kelly and James' wedding rings

Since the rings on Kelly's hand are the symbol of love from James to her, it's great to see her have a new design with lots of input from the both of them.

Design Details to Use With Antique Diamonds

Antique diamonds look their very best with old fashioned details like hand engraving and milgrain edges. Milgrain engraving is like tiny beading and creates an edging like a frame around a picture.

Charming older fashioned details allow antique diamonds that may not have the intense sparkle of the newer cuts to look just great.

Kelly's Antique Diamond Design Choice

We came up with a classic design with feminine sweeping curves coming up to set the main diamonds and a milgrain engraved edge on either side of the top to give it a unique and old-fashioned look.

The size and style suited Kelly’s delicate hands and worked beautifully with her grandmother’s diamonds.

Kelly chose a smooth high polish finish between the milgrain edge detail. The wedding band holds five smaller diamonds and curves slightly to contour snugly with the engagement ring.

James' Wedding Band Choice

James wanted a comfort fit band with no diamonds. As a chef working with his hands, he felt he wouldn't wear it if there were diamonds and settings on it. He chose the comfort fit because it felt solid and well, comfortable. James liked the milgrain edge detail Kelly chose, so he chose that as his defining detail on his band. Choosing the milgrain edge nicely carried on the theme in Kelly’s rings.

It's nice to have one element that is worked into his and her rings for a nice togetherness feeling.

It Feels Nice To Wear the Gift From Your Grandmother

I’m sure Kelly’s grandmother looked down from above with great joy to see that the symbols of lifelong love for her were being honored and worn daily by Kelly.

Working inherited gemstones into your wedding rings can add a sense of history to your wedding and marriage.

Their Ring Details

The rings were cast in 14kt white gold for the strength that the extra alloys give to the overall ring and the prongs.

Congratulations Kelly and James, 11.01.08
Photography by Kacie Jean (

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About Calla Gold

Calla Gold is a Personal Jeweler and Author who takes pride in working with clients one-on-one to integrate their personal sense of style and taste into custom designed jewelry and repaired jewelry pieces.   Unlike typical Santa Barbara jewelry businesses, Calla Gold has no brick-and-mortar location. Calla Gold comes to you, bringing you the jewelry collection you want to see and collaborating with you to create unique custom jewelry. Calla also works with at-a-distance clients.

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Daniel Z
Daniel Z
13 years ago

What a great story and so typical of your great service-focused model of business. Please, keep sharing!