Old wedding rings are often gifted between generations. Sentimental and precious, they can be upcycled, remodelled, and enjoy new life.
A lot of people are becoming more interested in repurposing or remodelling their old or unworn jewellery. Gold has staged a comeback, and platinum is timeless and each can compliment the other. As many old pieces are in gold and gold prices are high at the moment, it's a cost effective way of making more out of new jewellery, utilising old jewellery. It can make a big difference on the metal costs for a new piece, in gold or platinum.
[Note Here! If you are reading this thinking that basically your old metal will create a free piece of jewellery - it's unlikely! It still takes time, skill and energy to create new jewellery. You will end up with a piece of jewellery that is beautiful and personal and good value - but unless you have a lot of gold or platinum to recycling in addition to remodelling, it isn't going to translate into a free piece of jewellery. So better to view this as the opportunity to create something personal and better than if you hadn't had the metal!]
What kind of things can be done?
We've got a few case studies on remodelling projects utilising old jewellery. If you are thinking about wedding rings, here are the most interesting..
Double Sleeved Wedding Rings
This is a nice way to keep the metal from somebody precious to you, as part of your ongoing journey. The first example shows an old signet ring (left hand image) which my client had been left by his grandpa. He was never going to wear a signet ring, but his grandfather was a very important part of his life, and he wanted to use the ring on his wedding day. We melted the old signet and remodelled it into his wedding ring, by drawing it into a wire and forming a ring to fit inside his platinum wedding band. The technique is called double sleeving - for obvious reasons. It works well with white against yellow or vice versa, but it's fine with the same colour too, dependant on what you want to achieve.
Another Double Sleeve Example
Old gold rings passed down can often be well worn, and so actually the fine band of metal works well inside a thicker band. In this example, for a wedding vow renewal, the original ring (worn for 40 years at that point!) was incorporated into a larger band making one robust wedding ring. Adding existing bands to new bands is a fairly straightforward process, and offers more protection for cherished family rings passed on.
Only pointer is that in general, we tend to recommend the two rings are actually attached to each other, for more security and a nicer finish. What has happened here is that the exterior of the original ring, and the interior of the newer ring are both fairly abraded. But it is still an option, and with the right engineering, one ring could actually spin over the other for a special feature!
Melting Old Jewellery into New Jewellery
To make the most out of old gold jewellery, the design ideally needs to be one that can easily be hand made. Most jewellery designs as some point in time were hand made, however there is a skill and labour requirement at this point, and the decision then is whether you mind the increment this entails. Casting jewellery as single items still requires a lot of work in mould making and resources, and as I explain in this article, it is not possible to combine gold gold jewellery in a commercial casting operation, without spending a considerable amount on extra gold. A bit like going to see a movie and reserving the whole cinema for yourself..
The good news is that stone settings, mounts and rings can be hand made, and depending on the design ambitions, remodelled to produce beautiful new heirlooms.
You can read the case study on this ring remodelling project, as simple objective, creating a new ring from family jewellery melted into a single bar, and made into a new twist wedding ring.
Making an old wedding ring into a bracelet
Another great case study for a piece of work we a carried out for a client, wedding rings don't have to be wedding rings all their existence. An old ring that isn't going to be worn again, could be upcycled into a different symbol, here, appropriately, an infinity symbol.
These are just few examples, as clients are always coming up with interesting new challenges for us! Double sleeving wedding rings is not an expensive undertaking as it would be to buy the ring new. Likewise, reshaping rings into new jewellery starts on an economical footing, but chains, extra diamonds etc will add to costs.
Reasons to Reuse Old Wedding Rings
- To keep something worn by somebody you really care about close to you
- To create a more chunky wedding ring
- To prevent old rings from wearing out
- For renewing wedding vows
- To make special gifts
Reasons not to Remodel Old Wedding Rings
- They are not precious metal
..umm, that really is it!