Style solutions for upcycling an antique engagement ring

Style solutions for upcycling an antique engagement ring

Has someone left you their engagement ring which you love – and can’t wear because you already have an engagement ring?  Or just don’t want to wear something that looks like an engagement ring?  Many think upcycling an antique engagement ring means that the ring is going to have to be reworked.  But this doesn’t have to be the case as we explain here.

imageAs we get older, quite a lot of us will inherit or be gifted antique engagement rings. I’m working on a couple for different clients this week. The one pictured is 1951, so an early modern setting believe it or not. It came from a jeweller on the Strand in London and cost £125, the equivalent of around £3,500 today.

This ring belonged to my client’s mother.  There is a lot of sentimental value, and in addition, it is a very beautiful and elegant piece. But she already owns beautiful and sentimental wedding jewellery. So now what?

I met her for a chat, and also to have a look at her hands. She’d been interested in having a simple band to match the ring, but we agreed this was still quite bridal. Plus, she has broader fingers which are quite short. On its own the engagement ring would look a bit lost, and one ring isn’t going to change that.  At the same time, I don’t want to overwhelm her finger.

imageSo I’ve had a look at some shaped bands, to accentuate the shape of the engagement ring, while still being wearable. As the ring pictured shows, adding the herringbone shape bands on each side of the ring change it’s shape. It ties in more with stacking principles.

Likewise, experimenting with some shaped and stone set bands can add interest and extra sparkle. We’ve looked at a couple of options here too, as shown with the channel and pave set bands in the image below.


This project has me catering to more classic tastes, and we’ve decided the framing the ring should bring out the loveliness of it’s shape, while not being too avant guarde.  You can see the great details on the side of the engagement ring, in the rough sketch, which bridges the gap with something more elegant.  You can see that we’ve put a tiny diamond on the bands, to compliment the delicate stones on the engagement ring.Engagement ring upcycling heirloom engagement ring platinum and diamond 1950s ring

So what happens now?  Well, this sketch along with the ring and some more detailed dimensions have gone off to one of my workshops.  The rings themselves will be hand carved from a modelling wax, and we will make refinements, as the engagement ring also needs to be resized, and a couple of claws need to be repaired.

I’m looking forward to welcoming a very pretty tri-set back to Heirloom Towers, and sharing with you the beautiful results!

Ruth’s Tips
  1. Consider the ring carefully.  Does it look like an engagement ring?  You may have something very different which needs no emellishments.
  2. Build on what you have.  This sounds obvious, but it may be that actually the ring looks great when grouped with a couple of others striking settings.
  3. Framing the ring with two side bands can be very effective.  If the engagement ring has a higher setting, it may be simple enough to add two plain bands.  Dependent on how often you want to wear it, you may be able to work with a fashion ring style.
  4. Try out alternatives.  With all of the previous comments, experiment with your ring, and keep it with you while you raid your jewellery box, and are out and about.  It may be something in the darkest corner of a store which is just what you need?


Want more advice?

Want more advice?

We’re happy to answer your questions.

No Comments

Post a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.