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How To Breath New Life Into Old Jewelry

So you’ve got some old jewelry lying around. Maybe it’s a bit dirty, broken, or just not your style anymore (Think about all that jewelry you have kept since you were a kid!). Or perhaps you have some antique jewelry passed down from a family member that’s broken and also not your style. Yet, you want to keep it for sentimental reasons and just can’t part with it.


But it’s a shame to see beautiful jewelry just sitting around gathering dust.


Luckily, there are a few great options for bringing your old jewelry back to life instead of just selling it at a loss! Either repairing, resizing, or entirely repurposing your old jewelry can be a great experience. You get to revisit old pieces and the memories associated with them. And in the end, you get to bring them back into your life so you can create all new memories.


First, Get Your Jewelry Appraised

Get Your Jewelry Appraised

“Big girls need Big Diamonds!” - Elizabeth Taylor


The first thing you want to do is get your jewelry appraised. Having a professional take a look at your pieces can give you some insight into all kinds of new information, including:


  • Overall value - this is usually an estimate

  • Any materials used

  • Exact gemstones in your jewelry pieces

  • The 4 C’s of your stones: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight


A jeweler or gemologist will give you documentation and an estimated value. These will come in handy if you decide to sell or insure your jewelry.


Give It a Good Cleaning

“Wear a fabulous smile, great jewelry, and know that you are totally and utterly in control.” - Donatella Versace.


Sometimes old jewelry just needs a good cleaning to bring back that shine!


Old or often worn pieces can get tarnished over time thanks to residue from lotions, soaps, and our own skin. But that’s no reason to give up. There are plenty of tutorials on how to clean your jewelry at home, but if it’s a valuable piece, you will want to take it to a jeweler and let the professionals do it.

That way, you know the job will get done right, and your piece will come back looking just like new. Most recommend that you get your jewelry professionally cleaned every six months, especially if it’s something that you wear every day, like a wedding ring. And, of course, heirloom jewelry will need to be cleaned up to keep it looking its best.

Repair those Minor and Major Imperfections



“A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls.” - Coco Chanel.


Many people believe that if a jewelry piece is damaged, there is no hope for it. But that’s not true! Depending on the jewelry and the damage, a jeweler or jewelry repair company might be able to fix the damage for you!


Many times the problem is just a broken chain or clasp - those are easy fixes! Another example is if there is a scratch on a stone, it might just need to be polished out. But if a stone is cracked, it may have to be cut down - which can be a significant repair, depending on the gemstone, its size, weight, etc.


If the item is silver or gold jewelry, it may be able to be sent off to a refinery to have the pure silver or gold extracted. At that point, the metal can be completely reworked and made into a new piece for you.


Update Some Parts, But Not Everything

Repair those Minor and Major Imperfections

“I favor pearls on screen and in my private life.” - Grace Kelly.


Never fear if you have a ring that just doesn’t fit anymore or a bracelet that is too loose.


These are usually easy fixes. Resizing rings is a simple process that your jeweler can do easily, although it's important to note that if a major resize is needed, there could be additional considerations here.


Changing chains or altering a design to fit you better is also an easy fit. Your jewelry should fit you and your style. That might mean making your bracelet fit a little more snuggly or adding some links to the band of your watch. But whatever it is, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional.


Redesign Old Pieces Completely

“A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls.” - Coco Chanel.


Sometimes heirloom jewelry just doesn't fit in with modern styles. They honestly don’t fit in with most styles in 2022 - that’s ok! Stones can usually be moved from one piece to a new piece. For example, a stone from an heirloom ring might be beautiful, but maybe the band is out of style. That stone could be moved to a new, more modern band so that it fits your current style.


If an older piece with several stones is missing one or two stones, jewelers can usually find a matching stone to help restore the older piece. As the prongs holding them together will wear out, many stones will fall out over time. This is true of older pieces that you might have inherited from the Georgian or Edwardian periods. The new stones will bring the piece right back to life!

And, of course, if you love part of an older piece of jewelry but don’t want to update it so it can be worn, it can always be worked into something else. Art made from old jewelry can be a statement piece. In addition, repurposed designer jewelry can be used in all sorts of home decorations or gifts.


So What’s Next?

“People will stare. Make it worth their while.” - Harry Winston.


Once you have your jewelry looking good as new, there are a few more things you can do. If you want to sell your jewelry or give it as a gift, it’s a good idea to have documentation on hand, so you know its worth. If you’re going to keep it, make sure you have a safe place to keep it, like a jewelry box. Space to sort your pieces and hang your necklaces is a must.


But most importantly, if you’re going to wear your newly cleaned, repaired, or reworked jewelry, do it with pride! Jewelry can be incredibly meaningful and hold so many precious memories. So wear yours out and about and make some new memories.


Contact Your Bay Area Jewelers

“I don’t design for myself. I design for the person who will be wearing it. I believe your jewelry should reflect who you are, your values, and your lifestyle.” Linda Kha, Carats and Stones Owner.


Carats and Stones have been your preferred bay area jewelers since 1978! Our custom jewelry traditions go back even further since our founder and team use traditional goldsmithing techniques and master jewelry creation techniques. This allows us to offer a superior level of service for our custom jewelry customers.


Our forty years in business, with our location right on Union Street in San Francisco, has given us tremendous insight into our customers' needs, wants, and expectations.


Since we know that you are trusting us to breathe new life into your old jewelry, it’s essential to begin with a custom jewelry consultation with one of our experts. Contact Carats & Stones to book an online or in-person appointment and experience our difference!





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