The magic behind remodelling at PIKE
Mad March in Adelaide! We are so lucky to live in such an amazing city. It’s a wonderful and vibrant place to live particularly at Festival time when there is so much on offer. I hope you have had an opportunity to experience a show that is uplifting, exciting and entertaining.
In my last blog I shared with you a topic that affected me during my teenage years and it is something I feel very passionate about. As with all difficult and emotional subjects, I feel it helps to share them rather than pretend they don’t exist. And by discussing these issues, other people don’t feel so alone. I was interested to see the ABC featuring a program this month on bullying. It is great to see the topic raised and commented on and I’m sure it strikes a chord with many in the community. The conversation hopefully makes all of us more aware and gives us the tools to assist those who are suffering from this awful problem.
More recently – I’m not sure if you’ve noticed our advertisements in SA Weekend and The Eastern Courier? The topics we cover are varied and the one we are featuring currently showcases Jewellery Remodelling – or in modern terms ‘the jewellery makeover’.
Many of my clients over the years have commented on the fact that they have odd bits of jewellery stored away. Often pieces they don’t wear: grandma’s engagement ring, their Mum’s old brooch, a wedding ring handed down, odd earrings and the list goes on. Often they have both emotional attachment and a monetary value and the problem of what to do with them can be perplexing.
That’s where I come in. For years I have had pieces of jewellery thrust at me with the question ‘What can I do with all of this stuff?’ The solution is a lot easier than you think.
Firstly, I assess the value and genuine nature of any gems brought in. I begin a brief on whether a stone or all stones are to be reused and then we test the different carats of gold or silver, and I establish the details for a possible new piece or pieces. By this stage, I am already conceptualising what is possible and it is not long until I have the options hand drawn. At this stage, my client has a fairly clear idea where we are heading. Sometimes it takes more than a day or two to develop the final design and I involve my client throughout. Predominantly the request is for rings, pendants and earrings, and I have also created bangles and necklaces. These last options are a good solution if there are a large number of stones to be reset.
If an element of the original design is to be captured in the new piece for sentimental reasons, then I carefully consider how this can be achieved. I am fortunate to be able to immediately imagine different ways to meet the brief. Most of the time gems are involved and recutting may be required to improve the brilliance of them or to change their shape. And sometimes I am required to add extra stones to make the design work.
We only use new gold or silver in our custom made work as old gold can act as an impurity, and if used in a new piece, the old metal can ruin the integrity of the new gold. This makes it hard for some clients if they want to reuse the gold for sentimental reasons. Of course, any old precious metals which are left with us can act as a part trade in on the new item made, so not all is lost.
The reason we don’t use old gold is because it’s too unreliable. We would never just melt all the old gold together because it would be impossible for us to assess the final carat of the metal. Customers often bring in a mixture of 9ct, 14ct and 18ct, white, yellow or pink gold. The gold in these pieces supplied is often an alloy (a mixture) that is very old, it might have lots of solder in it which taints the mix, or it might be an alloy with an unknown history. If this is mixed with new gold, which is a necessary part of remaking, it can cause porosity (a porous texture causing a blotchy surface), discolouration and weaknesses in the metal structure. This can lead to cracking which can affect the strength of the gold and obviously this is not a wise thing if the gold is holding a stone.
All of these conditions we apply enable us to give an assurance about the quality of every piece that leaves our studio.
To give you an example of remodelling, I am working on a concept at the moment which involves several old pieces which are no longer worn. Incorporated in these are a number of diamonds of varying sizes, sapphires, an emerald and a mixture of carats of gold:
The client already has a wide ring set with stones that we made for her a few years ago, and the brief is to create another ring to be worn on her other hand. The design of her first ring has contemporary simple lines with a mixture of yellow and white gold, a centre oval stone in a bezel setting with a couple of diamonds pressure set down each side. My challenge is to design the new ring to have similar appeal without repeating the same look again. It must complement the other ring.
After some discussion, we agreed to feature more yellow gold (her original ring is predominantly white gold), to still have white metal as a feature and to vary the overall shape of the ring keeping the design simple and low-set making it very wearable. My first designs were way too similar to her other ring, so I chose to offer her some more styles:
- A cross-over style with ‘arms’ coming in from each side holding the stones in the centre
- A series of bands holding stones at random intervals
- A split ring with bezel settings forming a straight row of stones.
- A heavier flat topped style with the gems in a random arrangement
The emerald and sapphires complement each other well and the diamonds add that extra sparkle to the design. The concepts are bold and relatively simple and have a great two tone gold appeal. I look forward to showing the next part of this ring in the following months!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the ‘makeover’ process, it is a part of the many things we offer at PIKE. If you’re curious about how your left over jewellery can be transformed, come in and see me.
Cheers for now
Hello there, it’s been quite a while since I have written to you all – in fact it was a…
I would like to share some of our latest commissions – they have given us and our clients so much…
In so many ways 2021 has been a year like no other and one we won’t forget easily. I’m sure…
Making a classic PIKE style 4 claw solitaire ring with princess cut diamond. Starting with a square section of 18…
Hello! The beginning of 2021 at PIKE Jewellers has been very busy, in particular in designing and manufacturing solitaire diamond…