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Published: 27/07/2020

You’ve got a piece of jewellery that you would love to wear more often. Making the decision to reset jewellery, especially if it has sentimental family value, can be difficult even when you know you will enjoy it more afterwards. So, what do you need to consider and how do you go about crafting something new out of your something old?

Jewellery can roughly be divided into four timeframes:

1.       New Jewellery that has never been worn

2.       Estate Jewellery which has been worn and was made in the last 50 years

3.       Vintage Jewellery that’s more than 50 but less than 100 years old

4.       Antique Jewellery which is over 100 years old

Antique jewellery tends to be more one-of-a-kind and some of the most valuable jewellery – sentimental and price wise. Vintage jewellery can also include art deco and costume jewellery. Jewellery which is Antique or Vintage style, is usually more recently made and therefore an imitation of a style and not a genuine piece.  

Resetting jewellery has been done for almost as long as jewellery has been made. Recently it has become even more popular. Resetting could result in a complete change; where just the stones are retained from an original piece then used to craft one or more new pieces. Alternatively, some choose to retain an original aspect or detail and augment it with additional stones. There are no established rules when it comes to resetting jewellery. Ideally, it should be an enjoyable not stressful process and the end result should always make you smile when you look at it.

Why Reset Your Jewellery?

Some of the more common reasons to reset a piece of jewellery are:

1.       The current style doesn’t suit, is outdated or impractical

2.       You need a change but want to keep part of what’s dear

3.       You want to maintain the value of a piece and be able to enjoy it more

4.       The setting is damaged or wearing out

5.       One piece needs to be shared between a few people

Decide what you want based on what you will enjoy most. The overall purpose of resetting any piece of jewellery is primarily to wear and enjoy it more often.

Things to Consider Before Making Changes

Resetting a piece, especially an heirloom can be tricky. Rings tend to be particularly sentimental, especially family engagement rings. Leaving you with the option to graciously accept or find a tactful way of explaining why you want to reset the stone.

Ahead of making changes, give a thought to:

1.       Why do you want to make a change? Is it because you don’t like the setting or it isn’t quite what you envisioned wearing one day or because its impractical and catches on things?

2.       Is there someone else in the family who could have a sentimental attachment to the ring as it is and should rather have it?

If you decide to go ahead and make changes, then talk to the person who gave it to you before you do. It’s best to discover why they gave it to you and what part of the ring could be most sentimental to them. Instead of the stone, it could be an inscription, the design or a particular feature of the ring.

Once you ready to make changes – the question is what kind of changes do you want? Do you want to have the ring restored by changing the prongs from rounded to V-shaped to better accentuate stones? Or perhaps modified by changing the colour of the band but keeping the overall design? Perhaps its time for a complete re-model and you’d like a solitaire ring with matching diamond earrings?

Practically the first step towards resetting a piece of jewellery is to have it appraised to see if there is any damage that needs to be fixed or hidden when you make the changes. If the stones are particularly valuable, you will also need to do this for insurance and identification purposes.

How to go about Resetting Jewellery:

The most important thing to bear in mind when you decide to reset a piece of jewellery is the experience of the jeweller. Pick someone who has a good reputation and ideally can show you examples of past resetting they have done.

Choose someone who has taken the time to hear your story You want the end result to be well crafted and what you envisioned. This makes it important for the jeweller to understand why you want to reset your piece, if you want to retain an aspect or feel of the old piece and what you are most likely to enjoy wearing into the future.

Provide examples of what you thinking When you meet to discuss, provide photos and/or sketches from as many angles as you can. Having as much information as possible is more likely to result in what you want. It will also better enable your jeweller to give you their insight and expert advice.

Understand your agreement Remember to talk about expected timeframes, what you would like to be consulted on if there’s an additional cost involved; as well as what your jeweller’s warranty and return or further change policy is once the resetting has been completed.

At Francois Jewellers we pride ourselves on crafting new enjoyment from older jewellery. Contact us to discuss how you can reset jewellery so it can truly be adored when you wear it.

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