Ballin' on a Budget: How to Redesign Your Jewelry Without Breaking the Bank
Redesigning your jewelry is easier than you think.
Just like our clothing styles change, so do our jewelry tastes. Maybe you want to remount your engagement diamond? Or maybe you have inherited jewelry that is just collecting dust?
Whether you are wanting to start from scratch with a brand new design for your diamond, or maybe wanting a small facelift to an existing jewelry piece, restyling doesn’t have to be intimidating or astronomically expensive.
This post is one in a series of making the most in your budget. Today, we’ll examine the different ways to restyle on a budget.
Lesson 1: Always start with a goal in mind & examine the sentimentality of your old items.
What does ``restyling`` mean?
Restyling involves changing some part of the existing jewelry design to be more functional, aesthetically pleasing, or wearable. Restyling typically does not include unmounting and remounting all of the existing gemstones or diamonds. (Unmounting and remounting is filed under Custom Design.)
When we restyle jewelry, we are essentially changing some function, or a major aesthetic part.
EXAMPLES OF RESTYLING:
Adding a halo to a solitaire ring
Changing a large cocktail ring into a pendant
Dividing a bracelet to create earrings
Using an old wedding band as the base for a stackable ring
Why is Restyling More Cost-Effective Than Custom Jewelry?
There are additional costs involved with Custom Jewelry. Usually, this includes costs to CAD render (computer aided design) which is time-intensive on the designer’s part. Custom Design also involves making a brand-new mold used to cast the form of your new piece.
Right off the bat, a New Custom Design can cost a minimum of $300-400 before even casting or labor, just from design costs and new mold making.
However, with Jewelry Restyling, the cost primarily comes from the labor involved to work with your piece, remove unwanted parts, and costs of new smaller parts involved (like ring shanks, settings, prongs, etc.)
HERE’S AN EXAMPLE
The Watch Restyle:
I bought a lovely Art Deco Platinum Diamond Watch at auction. When I received the item, I saw a big issue: the wrist size was extremely small. Like, child-sized small. I knew I couldn’t wear it, and the costs involved with making the watch larger would far outweigh what I paid for the item. No sense in that!
The sides of the watch, which connected to the watch face + case, were absolutely gorgeous and in great general condition. The links had great movement to them. I knew they would be fantastic as matched earrings.
By adding earring posts and earring backs to the top of each link, the look was transformed. Now, we had absolutely stunning Art Deco Diamond Earrings.
The cost of the restyle? $150!
How to Keep Your Costs Low
DESIGN WITH FLEXIBILITY
Of course, the fewer parts of the existing item we change, the lower the costs. Costs can increase with labor and metals added.
I encourage my clients to be flexible with the desired design; the more we can work with and preserve the existing metal, settings, and diamonds, the less we will need to add / unmount / remount. Even a simple addition like a bail to transform a cluster ring into a pendant can be a relatively inexpensive and easy restyle. However, unmounting all of those diamonds, melting and recasting the metal into a new design, and resetting the stones would be quite expensive.
In another avenue, we can utilize existing designs from our Design Library to avoid new design and mold costs. These designs have existing molds and basic renderings, so we don’t need to make new ones as long as your stones match the needed sizes!
It’s an easy solution to match your calibrated diamonds & gemstones to pre-existing Design Library designs, which mean that we only have to add a few stones to finish out the look, involve labor to set the stones, and the metal.
Our Client didn’t like the woven shank, but loved the cluster top.
We simply removed the old shank, ordered a new 14k Yellow Gold shank, hand-shaped and installed the new shank, and finished the piece. It would have cost 2x to remove and reset all of the diamonds into something else. Project Cost: $999
But wait, can't you just use all of my old diamonds/gems in the new design?
Of course! If that number of diamonds/gemstones is about 10-15 or less, it makes sense from a labor/cost standpoint to use them, depending on the SIZE and CONDITION of the diamonds.
It can cost anywhere from $15-30+ per stone to remove & then reset small diamonds.
During the removal process, there is a risk of damage to diamonds/gems. Likewise, we might discover that some diamonds/gems are simply too damaged from years of wear to be used in the new design. So, if you have lots of small or otherwise damaged diamonds, sometimes it simply doesn’t make financial sense to use all of them in the new design.
Can you use my old gold/silver/platinum in the new design?
In short: it’s tricky.
Old metal may be contaminated by previous contact with acids & other daily-use liquids (such as chlorine in your pool), or partial contamination from jewelry repairs and resizing. The last thing we want in the new design is structural compromise, right?
Typically, it is not cost-effective to melt down and reuse the old metal; most casting houses will need to refine the old metal ($$) and then add new metal for strength ($$$).
Instead, we suggest turning in your unused old metal for melt credit, which you can apply as payment on your project.
There’s nothing better than breathing new life into a tired heirloom. Here are our top tips for keeping your restyle project in budget:
Be flexible: The less disruption to settings and gemstones = lower costs
Match your gemstones/diamonds to an existing design from Design Library
Turn in any unused precious metals for melt credit to offset project costs!