Jewellery deals in naturally resistant materials like gold, platinum and diamonds, their toughness lending them readily to repeated recycling or refurbishment with little degradation in quality. We’re often invited to transform our clients’ heirlooms into brand new pieces of jewellery; a process we take great satisfaction from. If you’re sitting an old jewel and weighing up whether or not to reinvent it, we’re here to tell you why embarking on a bespoke remodelling journey is probably a great idea – complete with real life inspiration.
At Lebrusan Studio, we’re advocates for the circularity model; for minimising waste, pressure on our planet’s mineral sources and natural habitats, pollution and consumption of water and energy by regenerating materials that are already in circulation.
An estimated 6,000lbs of mineral waste is created and 250 tonnes of earth shifted for every carat of natural diamond. For context, 116 million carats were mined in 2021; that's 29 billion tonnes of earth displaced in one year. What’s more, in repeatedly drilling holes into the ground and extracting diamonds from them, we are consuming a finite resource; with a recent analysis by consulting firm Bain finding that that a number of diamond mines will be fully depleted by 2030. Meanwhile, the environmental impact of recycled metal is incomparable to that which is newly mined. It’s thought that one single gram of recycled gold requires 680 litres less water than the same volume of newly mined gold, whilst the energy savings are equivalent to almost 16 years of mobile phone charging.
Tara came to us with the engagement ring once worn by her partner's grandmother and a desire to do it proud. With the help of our master craftsman, Theo, we took the diamonds from the original ring and rehomed them in a brand new replica of the timeless Edwardian design, taking care to echo its court-shaped band, chunky eight-claw setting and grain-set shoulders. Breathing a second wind into the antique diamonds with the help of 100% recycled gold enabled us to create an entire piece without the need for any new materials.
In many instances, creating a new jewel by way of repurposing an old one enables us to hold a loved one close to our person at all times and ensure that stories may be passed on from one generation to the next.
G came to us with a substantial white gold ring, once worn by her mother. When she passed away, G's father began wearing the ring around his neck on a chain, close to his heart. When he too sadly passed, G and her two sisters decided that they each wanted to wear a small part of the special and deeply symbolic jewel. The process began when the ring was melted down and refined, the alloy then topped up with a little extra 9ct recycled white gold to ensure enough metal to create a perfect new ring for each sister. Our manufacturer Mario then used the metal to cast three court-shaped bands by hand, before handing them over to our master hand-engraver, Darren.
Once-upon-a-time G’s inherited ring was engraved, but its once-crisp motif was heavily worn away by the time it arrived with us. Fortunately, Darren recognised the traces of the etched pattern and was able to emulate its design on paper, then realise this vision on the surfaces of our clients' new rings. Now, each sister's ring is adorned with intricate scrollwork that pays a clever homage to her mother's special piece of jewellery.
Trends evolve over time, and so too do our personal preferences. You may own an old item of jewellery whose design no longer speaks to you as an individual, but an outdated aesthetic does not diminish sentimental value or valuable, high quality materials. Remodelling is an opportunity to save a special piece from collecting dust, celebrating its enduring elements by creating a piece of jewellery that you are far more likely to wear.
Pamela came to us with a she’d bought herself on holiday back in the 1980s. After decades of wearing the ring on an everyday basis and forming an affinity with its components, Pamela felt its style was a little tired and no longer complemented the clothes and jewels she wears today. Taking the ring’s fabulous marquise-cut sapphires, brilliant-cut diamonds and original white and yellow gold, we created a contemporary statement pendant. Now, Pamela has a brand new “Wow!” jewel that she can draw on special occasions, still saturated with the happy memories of that wonderful holiday all those years ago.
Fine metals and gemstones are tough cookies, but they are not invincible. From missing gemstones to scratches and chips, general wear and tear is a common trait of well-loved jewellery. Whilst shabbiness is often a deterrent from wearing old pieces of jewellery, remodelling is an opportunity to restore surviving elements to their former glory, addressing any serious structural issues in the process.
Lenny approached us with two fundamentals: a jaw-dropping 1920s cocktail ring he'd inherited from his grandmother, and big plans to woo his partner, Madeline. Over a century old, the ring was a little tired, some of its diamond settings misshapen and some of those marquise diamonds damaged. De-setting the impressive 2.43ct octagon-cut emerald and salvaging six unscathed diamonds from the original piece, our master craftsman Theo rehomed the stones in this spectacular Art Deco-inspired design which pays homage to the original catalyst whilst bearing in mind the longevity of the engagement ring moving forwards. Sturdy claws hold the diamonds in place, whilst the emerald is secured in a rub-over setting enclosing it from each side; a wise choice for softer gemstones.
A bespoke commission is an exciting opportunity to create a one-in-a-million piece of jewellery, owned by you and nobody else. Repurposing an old jewel needn’t mean feeling restricted by its original blueprint; it could be as simple as extracting its metal and gemstones and embarking in your own direction. Gather inspiration from Pinterest, Instagram and magazines, research design styles, manufacturing techniques and fine materials, find a jeweller whose ethos and aesthetic aligns with yours, and have fun working with them to create something that’s reflective of your personality and style.
A mining engineer some moons ago, Mark has always been attracted to rocks, minerals and crystals. He approached us with an unusual but well defined vision of a wedding band scored with a fissure exposing a recessed flash of colour; symbolic of a rock opening to disclose its inner mineralised glory. A homage to the Arts and Crafts antiques he loves to collect, the surface of the band was to be gently planished. Left in the capable hands of our Design Team, it wasn't long before this vision was realised as a wearable piece of jewellery. This one-of-a-kind wedding band is cast in 9ct recycled rose gold, incorporating some of the gold from Mark's inherited family signet ring.
In general, commissioning a bespoke piece of jewellery is by no means a ‘cheap’ process. This is also true of bespoke remodelling projects, which often involve specialist and time-consuming processes like refining metal or refurbishing old gemstones. In some instances, however, repurposing an old piece of jewellery can be a more cost-efficient way to arrive at a new jewel than purchasing a jewel made from new materials.
Our client Andy proposed to his partner with a show-stopping solitaire engagement ring, its recycled platinum band crowned with a fantastic 2.39ct round brilliant cut diamond. Had this diamond been bought new in the 21st century – not gifted to Andy in his grandmother's old engagement ring – the final price tag would have looked quite different. Though the once 2.5ct diamond underwent specialist cleaning and polishing procedures to remove decades’ worth of scratches and residue – losing 0.11ct in the process – this refurbishment in itself instilled the finished product with a whole new sense of value.
What's more, keen to ensure that no good materials went to waste, we sourced a peach tourmaline to set into the original mount of Andy’s grandmother’s engagement ring. Two special jewels for the price of one!
Sometimes, people wish to mark significant life changes or milestones by transforming their old jewellery into something new. These changes might symbolise personal growth, transformation, or a fresh start.
Raiyah came to us with a piece of jewellery she held incredibly dear: her engagement ring. Though still besotted by its sentimental value and mesmerising gemstones, she felt after many years that it was no longer the kind of jewellery she’d choose for herself. With the help of our master craftsman Theo, we carefully de-assembled the ring and rehomed its sparkly components in two brand new pieces of jewellery; a fresh engagement ring and a cute little jacket ring to wear alongside it.