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Five Tips for Upcycling Jewellery

4 min read

Five Tips for Upcycling Jewellery

Have your old treasures lost their lustre?

Perhaps in a former life you treated yourself to a piece of bling on your summer holiday, only to accept now, 20 years down the line, that it’s just no longer befitting of your personal style. Maybe you inherited an heirloom jewel from a special family member but you’re not confident in your ability to do it justice. Could it be that you’re sitting on a small stash of fabled goodies, each precious as individual oddments but simply not fulfilling their potential?

Whatever the reason for that trinket no longer seeing the light of day, sentimental jewellery deserves better than years spent collecting dust at the bottom of your jewellery box. The good news is, with our bespoke remodelling service, you can bring these beloved relics back to life.

‘That sounds overwhelming,’ I hear you musing. ‘Wouldn’t it cost a fortune? Where would I start? Can I treat any old piece of jewellery to the magic of upcycling?’

With these top tips, consider your questions answered.


1. Contemplate whether upcycling is really the best approach

As a child, Arabel was drawn tirelessly to the alluring twinkle of her mother’s jewellery box. Nestled inside was a beautiful pendant: a miniature eagle clasping a sapphire in its claws. Emerging only on special occasions, the pendant fascinated her; its perfect carvings, intricate gemstone settings and gleaming yellow gold the epitome of exquisite craftsmanship. More enchanting than any of that, however, was how beautiful Arabel’s mother looked when she wore it.

When remodelling old pieces of jewellery, Arabel takes time and care to conceive designs that are sympathetic to original forms, celebrating and restoring any features of particular sentimental value. Upcycling doesn’t mean replacing. However, once changes have been made to a piece of jewellery, they can’t be reverted. If that pendant you inherited from your mother underwent a revamp, would you feel it was enhanced – or would it affect your memory of how it once looked when she wore it?

If your instincts tell you that you’re not ready to wave goodbye to an heirloom in its current embodiment, you should probably settle for giving it some TLC for now. A simple polish, clean and once-over of its gemstone settings could leave it sparkling like new.


 2. Bear your jewellery’s value in mind

Upcycling often helps to increase the value of old jewellery – particularly if it was otherwise a little worse for wear - making a remodelling project a savvy investment in the long term. However, we wouldn’t recommend upcycling classic pieces from jewellers such as Van Cleef & Arpels, JAR or Cartier because iconic designs are worth their weight in gold. If value is a priority of yours, we’d recommend having your old jewellery professionally appraised before deciding whether or not to go ahead with a rework.


3. Establish a realistic budget

This part is all about being honest with yourself. How much is a feasible sum for youto spend on a new forever jewel? We’re experienced jewellers equipped to explain your budget capabilities from the get-go and, if necessary, tailor designs and materials to your needs.

The good news is, the upcycling route generally tends to be far cheaper than the process of building a piece of jewellery from scratch, thanks to its utilisation of precious materials that you already own. The result would a one-of-a-kind heirloom jewel for a small fraction of the ‘brand new’ price tag.


4. Round up the troops

There’s no need to hone in on just one relic! If you’ve a jewellery box bursting with unworn treasures, invite them all along to the party. Don’t fret about quality or condition - that's our job further down the line.

When Marie Dominique inherited her mother’s jewellery box, she saw potential in its mismatched array of costume jewellery and loose gemstones. Once she’d offloaded it all onto us, our team was able to retrieve a substantial purple amethyst, a blue sapphire, a tiny freshwater pearl, five miniature diamonds, an emerald-like green glass crystal and a coral bead, before re-setting them all into a fab cocktail ring.


5. Collect some visual inspiration

With the style and materials of your original jewellery in mind, take time to gather some examples of designs or particular design features that capture your imagination. This will help us to build a moodboard. Flick through magazines; take to Pinterest; scour Instagram; peruse our gallery of bespoke jewels.

In the past, bespoke engagement ring clients of ours have even prepared for their appointment by taking their partners to try on pieces in high street jewellers. If you’re designing this piece as a sentimental surprise for a lucky loved one then this is a clever way of sussing out what theyseek in a dream jewel, too.

The more cut-outs, photos and sketches you bring along to our consultation, the better. We want a window into your brain!


Feeling inspired? We'd be delighted to breathe a second wind into your old treasure. Visit our Bespoke Remodelling page to learn more about the process and give us a shout when you're ready to get the ball rolling.


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Love, Arabel & Team
Ruby McGonigle
Ruby McGonigle

Ruby McGonigle is a copywriter and digital marketing professional with over five years of jewellery industry experience. After graduating with a BA in Linguistics, she combined her passions for written word and all things sparkly by joining the Lebrusan Studio team as in-house wordsmith and content creator. Among bi-monthly blog posts, notable examples of Ruby's work include a think-piece on the ‘natural diamonds vs. lab-grown diamonds’ debate, a probe into why traceable and third party certified ASM gold is so important, and an investigation of why platinum is no longer more expensive than gold.