Restoring Antique Rings with Antique Diamonds for Engagement Rings


White Gold Antique Engagement Ring

Who do you call when you have an antique ring too worn for everyday wear? Rodney and Taren were referred to Santa Barbara’s Calla Gold Jewelry for antique jewelry restoration after their frustrating experience trying to sort out what to do to be able to wear her antique engagement ring daily.

Rodney and Taren had been living together for five years. Taren had a very simple modern engagement ring from Rodney and they planned to marry.

Antique ring with worn engraving on shank

This Side View Shows Worn Engraving on Antique Ring Before any Work was Done

Rodney’s Grandmother passed on and her beautiful vintage filigree ring was given to him. It was pretty worn out but there was something so special about it.

Family Jewelry Says, “You Are a Part of My Family”

When he showed it to Taren she fell in love with it. Her modern engagement ring was OK, but the filigree details in Rodney’s Grandmother’s ring were just beautiful.

The connection to his family was really more meaningful to her than her modern style engagement ring.

The Challenges of Wearing Antique, Much Worn Rings

Flattened Ring Prongs - close up

This Diamond is in Danger With it’s Prongs Worn Away. Notice the Worn Away Engraving too.

The problem was it had been worn hard and lived long and wasn’t strong enough to wear safely anymore. Taren really wanted to get married with Rodney’s family ring. After discussing the ring with family, friends and a couple of other Jewelers they called me.

Do You Need Repair, Or Restoration for Your Antique Ring?

Before pic of ring shank in restoration project

This Ring Shank is Too Thin for Everyday Wear

You may be reading this thinking about restoring antique rings in your own situation. When I first saw Rodney and Taren, they were thinking they needed to size it and have the diamond prongs checked.

They’d been given conflicting advice from, “Do not wear this ring at all anymore, it’s too beaten up. How about this beauty over here?” And the sales pitch would begin, to, “I can size it but I don’t guarantee it won’t fall apart in a few months. That ring is  running on borrowed time,” to, “Let’s size it and you just wear it till it falls apart and get something new.”

They really wanted to know exactly what were the weaknesses of Rodney’s Grandmother’s ring and what it would take to extend its life for years not months.

When Restoring Antique Rings, Instead of Doing Little Repairs is Needed

Rodney and Taren’s ring was a great example of what needs to be done when restoring an antique ring for daily wear.

Restored Hand Engraving on Antique Engagement Ring

Side View Showing Restored Hand Engraving and Re-Shanked (Thickened) Ring Shank

I looked over the ring with a magnifying loupe and showed them each weakness and suggested area for improvement. I showed them under magnification so they could see what I saw and understand why what they saw was a weakness.

Seven Elements to Restore on Your Antique or Vintage Rings for Daily Wear

1. The shank of the ring which must be strong to support the upper design.
2. The filigree work which is usually damaged by time and wear
3. Any cracks in the metal in the upper design portion which indicate the element has been worn too thin.
4. Any engraving must be re-done to return the original style of the piece.
5. Locate major design features and re-engrave them so their image is visible once more.

New Prongs on Antique Engagement Ring

Re-Tipped Prongs and New Hand Engraved Details

6. Re-build prongs that have worn down.
7. Replace any lost diamonds or gems with similarly cut diamonds or gems. (Modern cut gems set next to older cut do not blend in. They often make the rest of the gems look dull.)

Rodney and Taren’s ring needed everything mentioned above, except replacement gems.

We did all the recommended work and Taren is now happily wearing her ring daily.

Do You Have an Antique Ring With Faded Beauty?

Perhaps it’s not too late for your ring. Restoration of period details may give you back a ring you’ve never seen before. Your Grandmother saw it in all it’s amazing detail and you have a dimmed version of it. Consider Antique Jewelry Restoration for your treasured ring. Let it shine like it did fifty years ago.

Your Personal Jeweler,
Calla Gold

0 0 votes
Article Rating

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.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
12 years ago

Calla Gold Jewelry is the best Jeweler for antique jewelry restoration. That is where I went when my antique ring had faded beauty. Now it’s stylish and usable again.

12 years ago

Calla: For how long can Taren expect to wear her restored ring? And what kinds of activities wear down a ring the most?

Jackie Ruka
12 years ago

What a beautiful difference you made to this antique beauty. Calla Gold Jewelry, you take such love and care with your projects. I had no idea the special mechanics involved in antique ring restoration. So interesting! Thanks Calla for a great article!

12 years ago

Hello Calla Gold Jewelry. Nice rehabilitation of the antique diamond ring. I’ve also read your blog on rhodium plating and have this to say: I just wanted to say that yellow gold rings could be plated with white gold. However, most white gold jewelry is plated with rhodium a member of the platinum family to achieve that shiny white finish we all so love in the jewelry store window. White gold is actually a grayish color.The plating process is simple and relatively inexpensive. However, the plating will wear off and you will need to replate the ring relatively often, if… Read more »

Executive Coach
12 years ago

I too had a similar situation with some even more complicating details with my heirloom ring and Calla Gold Jewelry solved them all. No problem is too big a challenge for Calla and I love her for that!
Dr. Lynn K. Jones, Certified Personal and Executive Coach

Loose diamond
12 years ago

Very good posts and pictures on your Calla Gold Jewelry website. I haven’t come across such a good website for a really long time. Keep up the good work.

10 years ago

Restoring a diamond ring carefully is a daunting task. Thanks to Calla Gold for making us aware of some useful tips to restore our precious diamond rings.

10 years ago

Jeweler Gold,
I’m impressed, I need to say. Honestly rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining. Let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your thoughts on re-using older diamonds and antique diamonds are outstanding. This is a topic that I have done a bit of searching online about. I don’t need a new diamond, but my grandma’s ring is not ready for prime time.
I’m rather pleased that I stumbled across this in my search for some thing relating to this.

charlotte beaird
charlotte beaird
10 years ago

Does restoring an antique platinum diamond ring decrease the value of it? I am not selling. Just afraid if I change it, it will not be as valuable as the original when my grandchild inherits it from me. Just wondering?

Pam Swartz
Pam Swartz
8 years ago

Hello, I am writing you for advice. I took my mother’s vintage 1923 engagement ring – which I emphasized to the jeweler – “This is the ONLY heirloom I have of my mother’s.” I clearly said this many times. I handed him my current wedding ring set and asked the jeweler if he could use the diamond in it to replace the missing diamond in my mother’s ring? He said it was smaller but he could build up the area where the diamond would sit until such time that I could find a larger round diamond. To shorten this –… Read more »