Sarah’s Remodelling Journey

jodiegearingCase Studies, Jewellery RemodellingLeave a Comment

It is not uncommon for people to have mixed feelings about melting down and recycling metal, or un-setting and re-using gemstones from precious items they have inherited. On one hand, they know they won’t wear the item as it is – it’s old fashioned, not their style, damaged, or too delicate to wear without worry. But on the other hand, they feel it might be disrespectful to change the jewellery, or the idea of melting down the metal feels symbolically uncomfortable. And I get it, I really do.

But after a wonderful, uplifting hand over with Sarah, I am spurred on to share her journey with me and her reasoning behind reimagining her mother’s jewellery. I’ll share with you her wise words that explain her reasoning and thought process at the end, but let’s start with what she had to remodel, the designs and their stories, and the final outcomes she walked away with.

Design Consultation

Sarah booked in to visit my studio with the big pile of jewellery she had inherited from her mother. Her mum was a big fan of jewellery, and particularly towards the end of her life, she went into what Sarah hilariously called her, “P-Diddy” phase, with heavy curb chains and a sovereign coin pendant. There was a lot in there that Sarah had no sentimental attachment to, and we had far more gold than we needed to make a range of jewellery from, so we decided that scrapping the majority for the scrap gold value was the best route of action. The sovereign was removed from the pendant, and she can either gift that to one of her sons, or sell it to The Royal Mint and split the proceeds to them both.

Sarah was shocked at how much money she received for the jewellery – it more than covered the cost of the new items she had made! So not only did the special and meaningful pieces of her mother’s jewellery become reimagined into new pieces Sarah would love to wear, the rest contributed financially to the process too.

Just some of the gold we scrapped

We pulled out the pieces she had strong memories of her mother wearing, such as her engagement and wedding ring, and set about reimagining them into new pieces she could cherish and enjoy wearing in memory of her parents.

Read on to find out the designs she created from these items, not just for herself, but to share with other ladies in the family too.

Yellow Gold Diamond Stud Earrings

First up, we took out six equally sized diamonds from an eternity style ring, and turned them into three pairs of simple 18ct yellow gold stud earrings. These were gifted to ladies in the family as a keepsake in memory of Sarah’s mother.

She opted for this contemporary four claw setting which suited all three ladies perfectly as either understated earrings on their own, or second hole studs.

Circle Ring

Arguably the most sentimentally important ring of the lot, we made this using the diamond from Sarah’s mother’s engagement ring and her parents wedding rings.

The round diamond is bezel set in white gold with a millgrained edge so the metal almost blurs into the stone.

Sarah had a vision for a circle ring using these particularly special pieces, and we opted for a slightly organic circle to represent her mother’s nature and personality rather than a perfect circle. It looks so good on the hand, and I know how much this ring is going to make Sarah smile with memories of her mother.

Ruby and Diamond Ring

Rubies and diamonds from a couple of her mother’s rings have been brought together in this striking ring. A 6mm wide band with a flat profile, with the stones offset along the edges of the ring. The larger and deeper stones are in bezel settings while the smaller ones are invisibly set. The random and scattered look with the plain brushed gold in the centre of them makes for a really dramatic but very wearable ring.

Sarah’s Journey

I was so pleased to be able to finish the circle ring in time for Sarah and her brother’s trip to scatter their parent’s ashes together near where they grew up. The walk they took together was joyful while they reminisced over stories of their parents and childhoods. Having the ring made from her parent’s rings was a very special touch to this occasion.

The ruby and diamond ring was finished not long after, and on her collection, we discussed what the new jewellery meant to her and why remodelling those special pieces had been completely the right decision for her.

Sarah knew that if she had just sat on the jewellery untouched, it would have spent decades unworn and hidden away, to be eventually passed onto her children who wouldn’t have the same sentimental attachment to it. Mostly likely it would then be sold on and the stories lost.

However, because she has remodelled the items into new pieces, her children will now form memories and attachments to it as their own mother’s jewellery, and in seeing her wear it, it will open up conversation about the stories and people behind it. When it is eventually passed down to them, they can either wear it as it is or remodel it again to suit their taste in the future.

When you consider that Sarah’s mother’s wedding ring was made from a sovereign she had inherited, there is something so lovely that Sarah remodelled it again into a new design and given it a third life. Jewellery is endlessly recyclable – stones can be reset in a new piece of jewellery, the facets recut and sharpened up if needed, and the gold melted down and reformed time and time again with very little lost each time.

Jewellery is not mere adornment. Sarah’s pieces are testament to the fact that jewellery can be powerful talismans, imbibed with stories and history, made to be loved and worn, and then passed down the line.

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