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Turning Old and Broken Jewelry Into Treasured Family Heirlooms

Sometimes you receive family heirloom jewelry that’s just not in good condition. It might be broken or dirty. Maybe it hasn’t been cleaned in years or was not stored properly. Or perhaps it’s just out of style, and you know you’ll never wear it.


But you want to hang onto family heirlooms. These pieces are full of memories and your family’s history. And that history can be passed on to the next generation. The jewelry might just need a little work first, though. That’s ok. Good quality jewelry needs to be maintained. It should be occasionally cleaned, and fixing broken jewelry is no big deal to a professional.


Appraising Your Jewelry


“Jewels are more than my love and life. They are an insatiable obsession.” - Harry Winston.

The first thing you’ll want to do when you receive a family heirloom is get it appraised. There are a few reasons for this. First, a good appraisal will tell you exactly what materials your jewelry is made of and what they are worth. If your great-grandmother left you a necklace in her will, jewelry records might be incomplete or nonexistent. But having a professional look at it will help. That way, you don’t have to rely on guesswork. Sometimes with family heirloom jewelry, there can be a lot of guesswork!


Knowing what material was used and what it’s worth helps you understand how to maintain your necklace and allows you to provide the correct insurance, should that be needed. Getting your jewelry insured is very important in case it ever gets lost or stolen or if you encounter any problems with ownership. Problems with ownership can happen, especially if the jewelry piece ends up being extremely valuable.


And if you do decide to sell any pieces, it will also tell you what to charge for them.


Repairing Your Broken Jewelry

Repairing Your Broken Jewelry


“Life isn’t perfect, but your jewelry can be.” -Unknown.

Maybe your heirloom jewelry came to you broken. That’s just fine, it's an heirloom for a reason! Most problems are quick fixes for a jewelry repair service.


Broken chain on a necklace? No problem. Stone came loose? Easy fix. When you bring in your broken jewelry, trust that a professional will hand it back to you looking better than ever.


Even chipped stones can be fixed, though the finished product may be smaller than the original. This is because the stone may have to be cut down. And if a piece has multiple stones and one has gone missing over the years, a stone in the same color can replace it. Your newly repaired heirloom jewelry will return to you looking beautiful and brand new.



This can make your heirloom pieces more valuable in the long run and make them last much longer.


Resizing Your Jewelry


“Jewelry is like the perfect spice - it always complements what’s already there.” - Diane von Furstenberg

This jewelry that has been passed down in the family might not fit you. In fact, passing jewelry from generation to generation rarely results in the right fit for everyone! So instead of shoving it into storage until you find a family member who can wear it, just get it resized. (No one wants to use those rubber ring refitters, after all!)


It might be a ring that is too big or a bracelet chain that is too small. Or maybe one person just likes their necklace to be on a smaller chain than the original owner preferred.


Whatever the reason, resizing jewelry is generally an easy fix that any jeweler or jewelry repair service will do for you. Don’t hesitate to resize something that doesn’t fit right and doesn't make you feel like your best self.


Repurposing Your Jewelry


“Jewelry is a very personal thing… it should tell a story about the person who’s wearing it.” - Garance Dare

Jewelry passed down from your grandma or great-grandma might be a treasured family heirloom that you want to hang on to and pass on someday. But styles change over the years, and a broach from your grandma may not have a place in your wardrobe. So, deciding what to do with jewelry that is no longer in style but still holds sentimental value is challenging.


You could sell it. Or you could repurpose it.


That might sound like a strange choice but bare with me. Repurposing old jewelry is a way to keep it in your life in a new form. You could use elements from an old piece and incorporate them into a new piece. For example, the stone from an older piece can be moved to a new housing. And it doesn’t have to be the same type of jewelry, either. For example, a stone from an old brooch or necklace could be incorporated into a ring or a bracelet.


If you’re interested, contact your jeweler and discuss how to bring old and new styles together and make something uniquely you. This new creation can become an heirloom in your family down the line!


Selling Your Jewelry

Selling Your Jewelry


Now only some people want to spend so much time going through the process of repairing or repurposing old jewelry. Especially if it’s not a sentimental piece.


But first, how do you decide what to keep and what to sell? There are a few questions you can ask yourself. Do you think you will ever wear it? Is the piece out of style? Even if you pass it on to the next generation, it may always sit unworn in a jewelry box. If a piece is going completely unused, it may be better to sell it. A jeweler could repair it, sell it, break it down, and sell it for parts.


But you may be asking yourself, “where can I sell broken jewelry?” Some places specialize in buying old or broken jewelry for parts, and many jewelry stores will buy broken jewelry. Often you can get cash for these items. But it all depends on the place. Some will only accept specific stones or metals. And there are ways to even mail in your old jewelry and get money for it. But prices may vary between buyers, so don’t be afraid to shop around for the best price.


Let Us Be Your Bay Area Jewelers


No matter what you choose to do with your heirloom jewelry, never be afraid to ask questions and consult your jeweler. Besides giving you all the information you need to make a decision, they may also offer you some insight from a different perspective.


Located in the heart of San Francisco, Carats and Stones is ready to be your preferred Bay area jeweler.


We offer custom jewelry, jewelry repair, and much more. Come in and design something special, made of your family heirloom jewelry, or repair something you or a loved one already own. Either way, you pick out the gems, materials, designs, and everything you could possibly need by searching “custom jewelry near me” and selecting our store!


Contact Carats & Stones today and let us know what you are looking for, and we will let you know how we can help!




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