How To Reset an Heirloom Ring

Resetting an heirloom or family ring is completely possible: Make something more your style with what you have.


"An engagement ring is something you'll be wearing every day, so it doesn't make sense to wear a ring you hate or one that doesn't fit your character," explains New York City jewelry designer and gemologist Daria de Koning. And reimagining and resetting your ring doesn't mean completely new elements: You can always use the stone and oftentimes the metal, as well, when melted down and recast. "Same elements, same sentiment, but more individualized so the bride-to-be can be proud of her ring and show it off," de Koning adds. So, how do you find something more your style with what you have?

1. First, Find a Jeweler You Love

If you're creating a new ring from scratch, get the jeweler involved early in the process-so he or she can tell you what's possible and what's not. "If the lady is involved, I definitely have them send me as many pictures as they can of rings they like. More often then not, I will spot a certain theme or two in a bevy of images," de Koning says. "Then I can use my creativity to streamline their loves into a unique ring."

"If it's a guy who's going in building and buying a ring blind, I talk to them about their gal to get an idea of her style." She continues. "Then I can point out and discuss styles that are appropriate, meanwhile backing it up with a big book of images I've compiled to point out visually concrete elements I'm talking about."

2. Think About the Stone's Home

First off, don't feel confined to the old. "I don't think the shape of a stone should limit what you do with it," de Koning explains. "It is obviously much easier to pop a round stone into a round prong setting, but if you get a hand-me-down shape and it's not your style, with creativity and some talented metal work, you can always make a stone look different." For example, round stones can be set into hexagon or square-shaped setting.

3. Then the Metal

Once you've thought about the stone, move on to the metal. Changing the setting and band color could affect the stone, too. "If you have a diamond that is not ‘colorless' and you set it next to a lot of bright white platinum (i.e., not just prongs), it might make your diamond appear yellower or more brown," de Koning says. "On the flip side, you might prefer to set your fancy yellow diamond in yellow gold, as that will serve to enhance the desirable yellow."

4. Finally, Recycle What Remains

If you like the metal used in the original piece, the jeweler can melt and re-use it (also nice to maintain sentimental value). If you're not planning to use the metal or some of the stones, ask about trading them in for credit. Or think about creating something entirely new: de Koning has re-used metal in wedding earrings and wedding bands for clients.

Ready to start the process? We'd love to see the results. Send before and after Instagrams hashtagged #MarthaRings to show us the the transformation.

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