"More before and after pictures please." I've heard it often. I've gathered favorite projects and included projects from my jeweler friends as well to inspire you to pull out something you're not wearing and change it up. Whether it's jewelry redesign or repair, nothing is more satisfying than changes for the good.
Before and After For an Old Ruby and Diamond Ring
When Wendy inherited her mom's ruby and diamond eternity band it didn't fit and seemed dirty.
On closer inspection she saw that her mom had really loved that ring. The rubies weren't dirty, they were worn. All the distinct facet junctions had been worn down.
She was fascinated to see that the diamonds were fine.
We replaced the rubies, fixed many prongs, added a section to make it larger and it was ready to go.
Wedding Ring, Prongs Wonky, and Then Beautified
My jeweler friend Jessica Ioerger of Lucky Hunter Jewelry Design in Benson, Illinois was challenged with a much loved and much worn wedding ring.
Her client was frantic when she saw why her ring was 'catching.'
Yup, that prong had fully failed to do it's job. Jessica felt that for a ring worn daily the marquis cut diamond would be better protected by 'v' prongs.
The texture was ready to be re-done as well. Now that it's had its mid-life tune-up, that pretty ring is ready to go once again.
What Can You Do With My Grandmother's Ring?
While I was talking with Dolores about sizing her wedding ring she mentioned she'd inherited her grandmother's ring. She didn't sound enthusiastic about it.
"I remembered it as so pretty when I was a girl. But it looks different somehow." She said
I asked her to bring it in. I described how the ring looked when her grandfather gave it to her grandmother. And that we should fix up the engraving, size it down, re-tip the prongs and make it wearable and beautiful.
Restoring the engraving with the style appropriate for it's time period makes a huge difference in how your vintage ring will look. Once the engraving has worn away, it loses what made it so special.
When we were done Dolores put it on her right hand and said, "This isn't coming off for a while. I feel my grandmother when I touch it."
For another wonderful story of a wonderful ring brought back to life, check out Carole's Restored Ring.
Gem Cutter Saves a Fireman's Ring From Too Much Wear
When Hans Durstling, gemcutter extraordinaire saw this fireman's ring he smiled. He likes a good challenge.
The sapphire, though a reasonably hard gemstone at 9.5 on the Mohs Scale of Gemstone Hardness, had seen better days. The magic he was able to create in bringing this gemstone and ring back is inspiring.
The fireman was suitably impressed and thrilled to see sparkle and glow once more from his ring.
For more about fixing damaged gemstones, read, What to Do With Faded, Cracked or Damaged Gemstones.
An Unworn Pin Becomes Redesigned as Earrings
When Shandi inherited the emerald pendant, she felt that it wasn't her. She loved the emerald and had me take it out and make it into a pendant with a simple bezel frame around it.
We were left with the interesting design of the old pendant. I asked if I could make her earrings.
Once I found the pear-shaped briolette cut iolites, it was all systems go to create this unique pair of earrings.
It's funny how nice that design looks now that it is a pair of earrings.
When Sizing Goes Very Wrong
Melody had to size her ring larger and gave it to the nearest jeweler. Something went very wrong and the top section of the edge elements bent. Was it the heat of open flame solder? Was it bad luck? She just paid the bill and got the ring back. It was a gift from her son and meant a lot to her. She mailed it to me in hopes that we could make it wearable again.
I wasn't actually sure if I'd be able to make it right. Luckily the ring cooperated and she is happily wearing it. She says, "if I ever have to size it again, I'm shipping it to you."
Fire Damage May Not be the End of the Line with Repair
I have to admit when I saw the pictures of the fire damage on this ring I thought, "no way can this come back." But Jessica Ioerger is an optimist.
She clearly saw the ring inside beneath the layers of damage.
My hat is off to her for this transformation. That ring is now even more special for having survived the fire.
Wedding Ring Redesigned With Little Updates
After twenty years of marriage Sue's wedding set kind gave out. Sue told me that she really wanted to keep the design the same.
Over the years she'd bent it, lost diamonds and found it didn't hold up to her life. She asked if the new one would be stronger.
My plan was to honor the original design, but add width and depth to the design.
For me I've noticed that as our hands get older, we look better with more width. Sue agreed.
Her ring when all done looked wonderful on her hands and has been maintenance free.
Innovative Up-Cycling of an Inherited Ring Redesign
Have you seen these older cool rings? They were very popular in their day. I've seen a lot of them.
My jeweler friend Shaun Goodyear of Indy Facets Designs in Carmel, Indiana came up with this gorgeous re-design.
The new ring has two rows of bright round diamonds, and each row is framed by a milgrain edging. I had to share it because that looks so awesome. I'm inspired, are you?
Bringing it up to Date From the Eighties
Joanna loves this gorgeous ruby, but she wasn't wearing it much as her tastes have changed. She wanted to wear it, but couldn't get excited about the ring's dated design.
White gold and platinum have more of an allure these days for Joanna.
Since we were redesigning the ring we decided to go for some big changes. We modeled this on an older art deco design, adding diamonds and milgrain engraving to the edges.
How's that for a change?
Prongs Need Special Care
When Scott at Belle Meade Jewelry in Nashville Tennessee saw this classic cocktail ring, he could tell it had experienced it's share of life.
It was high time that the old funky repairs and new worn out prongs get fixed up just right.
The great thing about the before picture in this project, is how it shows what a repaired prong, or re-tipped prong should not look like. And what a re-tipped prong should look like.
When you inspect your ring's prongs under magnification, (you do that right?) this before ring shows how worn prongs look.
In the after picture is a brand new looking ring. Just a fantastic transformation.
An Unusual Jewelry Problem
A new client came to me as a referral. She said, "What is up with the bottom of my ring? It wasn't noticeable when I bought it, but now it's really obvious. What is the problem."
The problem I explained is that her ring had a porosity problem when it was cast. Gold loves oxygen and sucks it in when heated. It doesn't all escape when the gold is cooling.
I cast with a vacuum caster that uses Argon gas as the ambient air. Gold doesn't get excited by the Argon. And no porosity problems come up. But vacuum casting isn't the only technique used to create jewelry.
The reason her porosity showed more with wear, was that dirt worked its way into the little porosity holes and darkened them.
Using heat, gold and a lot of care, we were able to make her ring's texture much better.
This is not a common problem, but it does come up.
The Lost and Found Diamond
Nancy worked in her daughter's pre-school. One day while they were making mud pies, Nancy's ring broke apart.
The first she knew something was wrong, her ring was jabbing her other finger. When she looked down she was horrified. Her ring had dropped its diamond.
Every sand sifter was pulled out and the kids and other teachers searched hard for that diamond. And then they found it! Talk about a miracle. Nancy was so relieved.
Her idea was that I'd fix her ring. However it was very thin because it had been her mom's before she started wearing it. This ring had experienced years of wear and it was badly worn.
It was beautiful. I asked if I could duplicate it, making it stronger. And maybe add another diamond element. And so that's what we did. I love the design.
If you liked this story there are wonderful examples in, turning your parents wedding bands into pendants.
When Black Diamonds Lose Their Wow Power
When Reuvan Yakubov a jeweler in Forest Hills New Jersey, got ahold of this black and white diamond ring, he could picture how amazing it had looked when his client first bought it.
Many times I run into people who have rings using the small black diamonds to create a dramatic effect. They aren't always told that the reason those black diamonds look so amazing, is that the prongs that hold them are treated with black rhodium plating so they don't compete and out-bright the little diamonds.
After a while though the black rhodium wears off and the gold prongs do indeed compete with the black diamonds and diminish their impact.
We re-apply that black rhodium finish and like waxing your car, it suddenly looks way better.
Don't Forget to Re-Do Your Unworn Necklaces
This was such a fun project. Ilse had been given a pretty necklace that felt too dressy for her lifestyle of volunteering and gardening.
To simplify her necklace we took it apart and made two different necklaces. All be had to add were a few sapphire beads and a clasp.
I love running around town and seeing her in one of her necklaces, which go great with her blue jeans and cool political t-shirts.
Did You Think of Something?
I hope you are inspired to pull out one of your before pieces. Jewelry redesign and repair may be in your future. May your after picture be very satisfying.
Your Personal Jeweler,