Nov 26

Inherited Jewelry – What to Do With Your Inherited Jewelry?

By Calla Gold

A Gift of Loving Jewelry, Neglected

Your beloved Grandma Lowena passed on. You are past tears and you are moving on with your life.

Your lawyer Mr. Pender has given each of the family members pieces of her jewelry. You received her soldered together wedding set and clip-on pearl earrings.

Hmmm, now what? You can’t wear those clip-ons as they are.

And her ring overwhelms your hand.

“You’re Not Changing That Are You?”

Locked Away Jewelry is Sad

Your Grandpa Joe doesn’t want you to change anything, so you’ve put everything in the safety deposit box.

You’re thinking, maybe when your daughters turns sixteen you’ll give them her great grandmother’s jewelry.

Nope, nope, negatory, that’s not the right answer.

Jumping Up On My Soapbox, or My Opinionated Opinion!

inherited jewelry

From Pin to Pendant

I have a soapbox to jump on here. I see too many neglected treasures on a regular basis. These are gifts of love and meant to be worn and talked about.

My mission is to pull them out of the safety deposit box and bring them up to date.

To change them to your taste. I want them to sing, so you’ll wear them.

Wear It, Don’t Warehouse It

Those were gifts of love, they need to be worn. And no, I don’t mean you need to wear clip-ons if you have pierced ears.

I mean change it, alter it or do what’s needed so you can love it and wear it.

In the case of the pearl clip-ons, my client liked the look of the earrings. They reminded her of her grandmother.

After sitting unworn for ten years, we converted the pearl and leaf design clip-ons into hanging ear charms.

Now she can wear them on three of her pairs of hoops.

Whose Gift is it Anyway?

Inherited diamond ring.When you are given a gift, it now belongs to you.

Other people can’t tell you how to treat it or what to do with it.

That’d be like giving your daughter a bike and telling her she could only ride it on the sidewalk and never go beyond your street, ever.

Oh, you do that? Don’t do that.

The Gift of Love Can’t Give Love From a Safety Deposit Box

Three diamond rings made from one inherited ringIf that ring is too big and bold for your hand, re-make more than one ring!

In this case we separated the two curved diamond bands and restored the center ring. We made new straight bands for her daughters.

You can tell your daughters, these rings were from your Great Grandma Lowena’s wedding set.

Then you can tell Grandma Lowena’s story and those rings will be more special to your daughters.

What You Can Do To Wear Your Gift Of Jewelry

Three women displaying redesigned inherited diamond rings

Vikki and Her Daughters. They Loved the Rings!

If you remove the diamonds from the old wedding ring and make something new, that new ring or pendant that you will wear will remind you of her and her love for you.

Re-using diamonds or gemstones is something I regularly recommend.

I feel that the energy of the person who wore that ring or earrings is in the gemstones. When a new piece is made, it’s yours, but it will feel embued with the love of the giver.

What Really Matters?

Antique diamonds in yellow gold cocktail ring, inherited jewelry

It doesn’t matter that you are changing it.

It matters that those were her diamonds.

She’d rather have you wear a memento of her, than keep her old ring like a shrine in a safe.

What About Grandpa’s Feelings?

You can take the old setting of the ring and put Cubic Zerconia’s (fake diamonds), in it and size it to your finger size and wear it in front of your Grandfather now and then. Seeing that ring will please him.

Honor the Love the Gift Was Given to You In. Wear It!

14kt white gold swirly wedding band with multiple small antique diamonds.

Grandma’s Diamonds in a New Ring

Create a new design that works for you, your fashion style and lifestyle with Grandma Lowena’s diamonds in it.

Tell your daughter and your son and family about her and keep her memory alive.

One day the piece of jewelry you made from her wedding ring will be a cherished heirloom, perhaps to be changed into the style of the day by your heirs.

A Final Tale of a Pendant to a Pin Prettily

Before and After, Inherited PendantThis beautiful Art Nouveau pendant came to my client from her mother.

She wanted to honor it. However she rarely wore necklaces.

Pendants weren’t her thing, but she did love pins.

Wanting to honor the curvaceous style of the design, I came up with a top section for this beauty.

What Do You Do With Your Inherited Jewelry?

Wear it, share the stories and add priceless family significance to your inherited jewelry!

Wear It Don’t Warehouse It!

For Examples

Here’s One Ring Made From Her Mother’s Ring. Then we Made Earrings

There are a number of real life before and afters utilizing older and inherited jewelry in the photo albums at
Other posts to check out: Using Inherited Diamonds in Wedding Rings, Using Inherited Pearls creatively. Click on the Revitalizing Jewelry category for more posts.

More in the Inherited Jewelry Series:

Wear it Don’t Warehouse it: One Inherited Ring Redesign Makes a New Jewelry Wardrobe

Inherited Jewelry, From Unworn to Cherished, Debra’s Story

Inherited Jewelry – What to Do With Your Inherited Jewelry?

Inherited Jewelry – Telling Jewelry Stories – Karen’s Story

Your Personal Jeweler,

29 thoughts on “Inherited Jewelry – What to Do With Your Inherited Jewelry?

  1. Hi Calla!! Loving your before and after pics here!!

    Do antique diamonds tend to be higher in quality? Just wondering if that isn’t another reason why revamping the old might not be a much better way to go.

    Keep those pics coming! I love them!!


    • Lori, antique diamonds tend to be cut differently, therefore when modern cuts are placed next to them it creates visual dissonance. Some antique diamonds are better quality than current diamonds as evidenced by how amazing they can look once re-cut into the modern faceted styles. Others are just average. The larger ones I’ve had re-faceted to modern cuts have been big wins in the before and after department.

      I always encourage people to use those antique diamonds, because they can be wonderful in the beauty department as well as the special meaning department.

      I’m glad you like the pictures! I will keep them coming!

      Calla Gold

  2. Calla: I see that you are as good at using words as solving jewelry dilemmas. What fun to read your posts even if I don’t have any inherited treasures just yet.

    • Thanks Kymberly, sometimes when someone hears a inherited jewelry story it inspires them to fix older jewelry or in one case to create inherited jewelry. A client of mine was robbed of her inheritance and just gave up on the idea of family jewelry. She is now recreating pieces for her heirs and it’s quite a fun undertaking.

  3. You know, that is a really cool idea and I think a lot of people just don’t realize that this is an option. Great post!

  4. Hello Calla: I haven’t inherited anything worth value yet, but I do have a ring that broke at the bottom (if that’s what you call the part directly under the stone). I need to pull that sucker out of whatever box I stashed it in and bring it to you for some ring love!

    • Alexandra, you are the best. And I love the phrase “ring love.” I’d be delighted to give your piece some ring love! ~ Calla

  5. Hi Calla,

    I love “wear it, don’t warehouse it” It is soo true. How many airlooms are put away, never to see the light of day. I am in full agreement here!

  6. I was given a ring of my grandmothers but I wanted to find out what kind it was (silver, white gold etc) Where do I go for this?

    • Hi Holly,
      That is an excellent question to ask. Some people think immediately, “oh, I’ll get it appraised,” not realizing that it is a paid service and if the ring is silver they just expended money to find out that the intrinsic value (actual value of metals and stones) is $10.00.
      Good jewelers can look with their magnifying loupes and read the stamps inside your ring and tell you what they mean.
      If your grandmother’s ring pre-dates the American stamping act, a good jeweler will do an acid test to figure out the metal. We do this regularly for people. We don’t charge for this service, but appreciate getting a little business from you with repair or purchasing a pair of earrings or something like that.
      I’d guess that in your town a jeweler that does custom work and jewelry repairs would be the best place to go. The girl at the Macy’s counter won’t do this.

  7. Know anyone good in Austin Texas? I took 14 rings of my grandmothers (all diamonds and sapphires) to a jeweler today and asked him to re-do my current engagement ring incorporating stones of my grandmothers. He basically told me the labor cost would be too high and offered to trade me all 14 rings for a slightly bigger diamond to set in my existing setting. I left a little disappointed to say the least. I thought I could show up, drop off 14 rings and come back and pick something awesome up. What’s your thoughts on this? I’m feeling a a little lost… Thanks for any advice!

    • Dear Lost,
      My feeling after reading about that exchange is that the jeweler planned if you said yes to pop out the gems, melt the gold and move on in a swift and efficient way.
      I’m thinking they don’t specialize in custom jewelry design or re-using inherited gems.
      Now to be fair, I haven’t seen the gemstones. If they were tiny and of poor quality maybe he didn’t want to see you stuck wearing them.
      Then again he could lack creativity and not see what could be created. Saying that it’d be expensive only makes sense a if he’s not much of a designer of if you gave him a super low budget.
      To dream up a design using your gemstones, carve a wax for them, cast it up, set your gems and finish it off beautifully in 14kt gold might cost $1200 to $1800 at a guess. I dream up designs for inherited gems regularly. Now I wouldn’t characterize that as “expensive” just as honoring inherited gemstones with a design you’d wear that is one of a kind.
      I have reached out to my network of jeweler friends to try and locate a good jeweler for you. I’ll email you directly when I locate a candidate.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  8. I received my grandmothers engraved wedding rings. Any suggestions? Id like to keep them as they are but I cant wear them because im afraid to bend them. They are silver not gold.

  9. Hello,
    I was researching your web-site looking for ideas for what I can do with 6 or 7 gold wedding bands given to me by deceased ancestors. There are no gemstones, just a nice handful of gold that I would like to wear in honor of my loved ones. Hubby and I are debating whether I should have something nice made with them that I can wear. I think wearing all those bands would not look right and some are just the wrong size for me. Do you have any ideas that are not over the top and that would look nice for everyday wear? I feel kinda stuck and I’m not getting younger.
    Thanks, Linda

    • Hi Linda,
      Thank you so much for writing about your unique challenge. Since you have that much gold you have more choices than the average person. First I’ll turn you on to why melting it all together to make a ring isn’t a great idea from a structural standpoint:
      Once you’ve read that and get it about rings, I will say that if I were to add gold to raise the karat of all of it and we designed a pendant that could work. Pendants don’t have to be as perfectly strong as rings.
      The easiest idea would be to work out a design you like and use the old gold as credit toward the new gold we’d use when we cast a nice ring in for you.
      I think a nice ring that you could see whenever you wear it would be very nice. If you like vintage details like hand engraving and maybe some tiny diamonds, that could be a direction to design in, to harken back to that generation. Adding the tiny diamonds would create sparkle with your special family ring.
      Because its roots were in all these lovely sentimental gifts, it would be wonderful to tell that story and the ring would no doubt be a very special family heirloom from then on. Family jewelry with stories attached is the most special jewelry to my clients.
      I see again and again the impact of jewelry that connects to the older generation. And newer pieces made from traded in gold with or without gems just become so special. I’m really pleased you’re considering creating a piece of family special jewelry.
      Check out my redesign page with “before and afters” on my website and see if there are any that particularly inspire you:
      I’d love to help! I do work long distance!
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla Gold

  10. What do you do if you’ve inherited yellow gold jewellery, and you never wear yellow gold? I wear silver and white gold. I’ve inherited some nice things from my Mom, and they have not been worn for 10 years because I don’t wear yellow gold. I would like to wear them but I just don’t wear yellow gold.

  11. Hi Calla

    How pleased I am to come across your website! I was wondering if you could inform me if there is a certain finger that is preferred for wearing inherited rings?
    I have inherited two diamond rings – one from my grandmother, and another from my great grandmother whom in named after – which I would like to get redesigned and made in to one ring. My mother has kindly offered for this to be my Christmas present but I’m nervous about getting them designed nicely as I haven’t seen any ‘duo-diamond rings’ that I have particularly liked, especially as the diamonds are a little different. I would guess one is 0.75/1 carat and the other is 1/1.25 carats.
    Any help or advice would be much appreciated. I have some pictures I could send if that would help?

    Thank you ♥️ And Merry Christmas

    • Hi Alice,
      Thank you for sharing your questions. You may email me images at That’s my best email to receive images on.
      I recommend wearing your inherited ring once redesigned on your right hand ring finger.
      I did a ring with two non matching diamonds that I loved a few years ago.I can send you the pictures in January.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  12. Hi Calla
    I need help i inherit my grand mother engagement ring but dont know if its diamond gold or silver. No stamp inside. Hope you can help

    • Hello Didi,
      Many jewelers can acid test your ring’s metal. I do acid testing regularly because the stamp that tells you what the metal is can wear away or be removed when the ring is sized or otherwise repaired.
      Most jewelers have a diamond tester. If it tests as diamond then the metal is probably something valuable and worth acid testing. I’d test the gem first as that is easier to do.
      I hope it’s real!
      Your Personal Jeweler,

      • Tnx Calla it is a diamond but they didnt give me the carat $50 to tell me. Also its a 18ct with platinum diamond setting. Will go back really want to know the carat

  13. Hi my mother passed 17 years ago and I have just received her mothers ring recently from her now deceased husbands daughter. I don’t know what to do with it.. Help in Iowa

    • Dear Tracy,
      Wow, that is a long time to go by and then to get her ring. Inherited Mother’s Rings are an interesting animal. Of course the mother who wears the birthstones loves them the most because they are her children or grandchildren. They generally are a mixed bag of colors that don’t always go together. I think the conversation starts with, “Do you like the gemstones?” And then goes to “Do you like the setting?” If so size and wear it.
      If not re-use the birthstones in another design.
      That’s a starting place to the conversation.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  14. Hi Calla,

    I have inherited my mother-n-law’s two diamond rings, which the diamonds are very close in size. Are there places where I could trade in her two diamond rings and get a one larger diamond for my ring? I am going to be inheriting three more diamond rings from my mother, which I plan on having a ring designed for them or just putting them into a different setting.

    • Dear SusieQ,
      Generally speaking if you go to the jewelry stores in your town that not only sell diamonds, but custom design, you’ll have your best opportunity for trade ups. If you will work with them to design the finished ring that’ll give them further inducement to work with you.
      One thing to know is that the value per carat of diamonds rises with size. So if you have a smaller diamond and it’s worth $1,000.00 and you want one twice that size instead of being worth $2,000.00 because it’s twice as big it could cost $4,000.00.
      There are more small diamonds than larger ones so with increased size comes geometric jumping of price, not linear. Now I’m not the math wizard some of my readers are, so if I explained that wonkily, just go with the zist, OK?
      I hope your ring turns out beautifully and the jeweler you find to work with is wonderful.
      If you’re in the Santa Barbara area call me.
      If you live in the back of beyond and can’t find a jeweler, reach out to me, OK?
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  15. My Mom died in Sept 2016. I am her own daughter so I have inherited a lot of diamond rings: her engagement ring, wedding band & another wedding band my Dad bought her for their 50th wedding anniversary), and my Grandmother’s engagement ring! I don’t want to change the settings right now, perhaps because my Mom just died. I am single and in my 50’s and I don’t care how it looks, but I just plan on wearing them “as is”. I never wear rings so it will feel strange, but it will make me feel close to both of them. Someday I will give some of them to my niece & nephew, her only Grandchildren.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *