Remodelling while retaining original beauty

For many years I have been asked to pull apart beautiful and intrinsic pieces of old jewellery that are beautifully made and wonderfully realised due to their gemstone content and craftsmanship.

I have often encouraged customers not to destroy them, but to let the beauty of the original design be kept and used in such a way that the major components of the piece be retained for both their historic value and often their excellence of manufacture.

There is no way the emotional value of these piece can be ascertained in dollar terms, because as for many the memory of Granny, Aunty or even Mum wearing the item of jewellery means more than the pieces monetary value.

As difficult as it may be and as challenging as I find it, to retain most of the original piece in its original form is a thrill, and I have always welcomed the opportunity to reinvent the old piece as an interesting piece of jewellery that will be worn and enjoyed.

Among the many challenges of creating a new design out of old pieces is to firstly consider the security of stones, the strength of settings and the integrity of the metal.

I would now like to share with you some of the new jewellery we have created using older pieces, and you will see how beautifully the original piece can comfortably sit in a new design.

Marquis-shaped cluster into a bolder design
A spectacular success is an original marquis shaped diamond cluster ring which had a very fine band and our client wanted it in a more contemporary ring which was to also include some extra loose diamonds from a number of diamond rings which were worn out. After my first consultation and having checked the ring, I produced the drawings and one of them was chosen and it was a design which followed my clients original brief exactly.

After we removed the ring’s original band, we added a new much larger ring casing which enabled the original diamond head of the ring to be enclosed securely in the ring where it would be permanently protected. We made sure the diamond section was slightly recessed preventing the fine claws of the setting from being knocked and damaged. The extra diamonds were also pressure set in the shoulders of the band.


The original pieces of jewellery were from an older couple that our client was very close to and after inheriting the jewellery she decided to honour their memory by having the most important part of the original piece included in her new design. The finished ring is stunning and our client treasures not just the new design but the memories it holds.

Rectangular diamond cluster into a broader ring
The second piece I’m featuring is another ring which was produced from an original rectangular diamond cluster ring which travelled lengthways east/west across the finger and had a very fine band. The client wanted it in a bold style and placed the other way, north/south up and down the finger.

The original ring top was to be retained for its sentimental importance and all we needed to do was strengthen some of the beads and claws holding the diamonds before it was soldered into place.


The cluster top was recessed into an outer rectangular frame to protect the diamonds and the wide band helps to showcase the old cluster design. It certainly looks striking and we know our client loves it because she wears it every day.

Wedding ring into a pendant
Another piece that comes to mind is a three-part diamond pendant. The brief was to incorporate the client’s mothers full circle diamond set wedding rings rather than unset all the diamonds for a totally new piece. We had also made the original diamond bands for our client’s mother so this commission had even more meaning than it would normally have had.

Our client wanted the introduction of some pink gold and she also wanted to wear it on her existing white gold ‘silk’ omega cord necklace.

The final result is a beautiful three-dimensional piece that can be worn in different ways, short or long, on a chain, on an omega necklace or even a silk cord.

Cufflinks into a pendant
A quite different and interesting transformation was involving a pair of organic gold men’s cuff links which were no longer being worn and we crafted them into a pendant.  Our client’s wife wears it on a gold neck-wire and it is such a lovely use for the items that are still loved and from a very recognisable era.

Diamond bracelet into a pendant
Recently being presented with a very delicate platinum bracelet with diamond content gave me a challenge because the fineness of the bracelet made it unsafe to wear it as it was. The bracelet had a central cluster of diamonds and on each side were three single diamonds spaced on the links.

The concept of a pendant was discussed and chosen by my client and I decided to enhance the circular shape of the original cluster. I added the six diamonds as supports between the centre cluster and the outer circular frame of pink gold.

We didn’t want to heat the diamond cluster due to its age, so we devised a way of ‘setting’ the cluster in fine claws. By fashioning a frame for the cluster to sit on meant no heat had to be applied to the delicate setting. The original cluster is very evident as the hero of the piece and our client loves it and wears it often.


Yellow gold diamond rope ring
Another piece which has just been collected is a piece that worked out perfectly.  My client asked me to create a new ring using her existing diamond and what made the piece a wonderful challenge was her request to include her original rope design wedding ring into the new design.

Because the yellow gold rope ring needed to be made larger in diameter to fit her middle finger, I chose to give her diamond a double white and yellow gold bezel surround which added the correct amount needed to make the ring fit the finger. To house the rope ring successfully Matthew made up a yellow gold channel ring into which the rope ring was laser soldered without compromising its detail. Our client was absolutely delighted with the finished result and we all received big hugs – such a beautiful heartfelt response.


If you have a piece of jewellery that you would like to discuss having incorporated into a new design, please call us at our Highgate studio or pop in for a chat, you are always welcome.

Cheers for now

Nicholas. X


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