Remodel, recycle, up-cycle, reuse and repurpose and heirloom redesign, there are lots of different terms to describe reusing old jewellery into a new design. If this is something you are considering you may find the information about using your existing jewellery within a new design helpful. This includes details of what I need to know about the jewellery you have as well as the processes involved so I hope this will provide a good starting point for further discussion.
Maybe you have jewellery which is no longer to your taste or maybe something which is inherited that you would like transformed into a new design? This is often possible but it depends on a number of factors and I require various information to work out how best to reuse your metal.
Firstly, what precious metal do you have to work with? Sending a photo of what you have can be very helpful. If you are able to see a hallmark this will give an idea of the carat gold. For instance, 750 is 18ct and 375 is 9ct gold. Further information about the different type of hallmark can found here. It's also helpful to know the weight of the gold that you have in grams (if possible).
Do you want to use the metal for sentimental or economical reasons. More often than not I reuse existing gold because of the sentimental reasons behind it. It is always wonderful to take existing jewellery that has an emotional attachment and make it into something new which can be worn and treasured. If you are reusing metal for economical reasons, sometimes (depending on what you have) it can be better to sell it to a refiner and use the money towards the purchase of 'new' gold.
Secondly, what would you like made from it. Is there a design on the website that you particularly like? Finally, do you have a rough budget in mind? Once I have the information about what you have, what you would like and a rough idea of budget, I can discuss the details of your enquiry and will then be in a position to advise you of the options. Please read on about the various processes, budget and how to discuss using your own gold to create a new piece of jewellery.
Reworking through remodelling, melting and casting
There are various ways of reworking metal into a new piece. The best option is dependant on what you have and what you would like it made into. Here is a quick overview of the processes.
In some cases I use the existing jewellery and rework it into useable forms without the need for melting down. In other cases, jewellery will need to be melted down into an ingot and reformed into sheet and wire using a rolling mill, hammers and draw plates. However, there are some precious metals that can only be melted at a refiners due to the high temperatures required, such as 18ct white gold and platinum.
In some instances the ideal solution is to use the precious metal to cast a design using the ‘lost wax’ process. This can involve making all or part of the design by carving wax so an exact replica can be created by casting using your own metal. Similarly, I can make a design in something like silver, have a mould made to make a wax which can be cast using the ‘lost wax’ process. Due to the high content of other metals in 9ct gold this alloy can be prone to cracking when being reworked, if so then casting this metal can be the better option.
Please note that it is not advisable to melt two carats of gold together. For instance if you have 9ct gold and 18ct gold, melting them together would lower the overall metals fineness and as such would only be hallmarked as 9ct gold. It should also be noted that during the making process where the metal needs to be reworked, melted, filed and sanded there will be a certain amount of metal loss, from around 5-10%.
In general it is possible to use stones you already have but this is assessed on an individual basis. In the first instance, please send me as much information as possible such as the shape, dimensions/diameter (in millimetres), if there are any marks or chips that you can see and if possible, a photo. If you know the carat weight and any other information, please send this to me.
Please note that if gemstones aren’t loose (still in their settings), once removed previously unseen flaws or chips may become evident. In general diamonds are ideal for incorporating into new designs as they are very robust compared to others gemstones such as emeralds for instance, which are far more fragile and characteristically contain fissures and flaws. This can render them susceptible to damage when attempting certain types of setting.
Whilst working with gemstones, due to their unknown nature (authenticity, origin, flaws and weak points etc) they are supplied at your own risk. Please note that whilst every care will be taken whilst removing stones and/or re-setting them into a new piece (a process that involves large amounts of pressure to push metal onto the gemstone to secure it) I cannot be held responsible of any damage that may occur.
Due to the variable factors stated each enquiry is dealt with on an individual basis. From the information you give me I will be able to determine what processes are best suited to achieve your chosen design and whether any ‘new’ metal is required. I hope that the above information about the processes gives you a good overview of the work involved and what is possible in transforming old pieces of jewellery into something newly created especially for you. Please bear in mind that due to the extra time and work involved in reusing, reworking and remodelling jewellery, these types of commissions are usually from around £500 for a plain band or from £750 for something that has more details such as the leaf design. There is no hard and fast rule but I hope this gives you an idea as it really does depend on what you have and what you would like it made into.
Discussing your commission
You are also welcome to arrange a time to visit me at a show or by appointment at my workshop to discuss things further. Alternatively, commissions can be carried via email and video call. You are welcome to send your jewellery via the insured Royal Mail 'Special Delivery' service which is guaranteed to arrive next working day. Once details have been discussed and you approve a quote or estimate for work, like other commissions I require a 50% non-refundable deposit to start work, with the balance due on collection or prior to delivery. Please see the 'Commission Process' page for further information about this.
If you haven't done so already, please complete the 'Remodelling Enquiry Form' below.