In many families, fine jewelry is passed on to younger generations as a demonstration of love, pride, and tradition. Perhaps your grandmother gave you her favourite necklace when you turned 18; or maybe, your spouse's Mum passed on her mother's engagement ring when it was time to propose.
Heirlooms intend to create a through line of connectedness and love. Like vintage jewelry, these pieces bring with them years of history and love; this is made all the more special when we know intimately the person that has gifted a piece to us.
But there's a problem. Sometimes, heirlooms are really ugly!
We said it! They can be ugly! But with a little help, you can still help these pieces to find a rotation in your fine jewelry.
Upcycle Your Heirlooms
Upcycling, similar to recycling, means to make use of disused or defunct items to give them brand new life. In the case of upcycling, however, the original item is generally preserved; recycling involves breaking an item down into its parts and potentially using them for different purposes.
To maintain the integrity and spirit of our heirloom pieces, we upcycle.
At Evorden, we're really pleased to offer these services. As you can probably imagine, a love of fine jewelry and its sentimental attachment runs deep in our family, and we're unlikely to let go of any heirloom piece, even if they really don't suit us.
But luckily, we have options.
Save Your Metal
When we upcycle fine jewelry, there many different approaches we can take. For example, we can save and make use of the metal in an heirloom, even recasting it to be an entirely different piece.
This is a powerful tool to have on hand. Say the clasp on your heirloom necklace broke—and you don't even really wear necklaces anyway. By polishing up that gold, we can reuse it, by melting it down and recasting it into a ring or a bracelet.
But if you do wear necklaces, fret not—repairing metallic jewelry using similar tech is easy. Working with precious metals like gold and silver ensures those high value and highly sentimental materials stay with you forever, if in a different form.
Featuring our Eleanor Ring and our Amelia Ring.
Save Your Stones
Saving gemstones is one of our favourites. There are lots of reasons you might find yourself needing to repurpose a stone; be it a prong has come loose on an old ring and you're looking to repair it, or maybe you want that stone placed into a new, modern setting.
We can do both!
For many folks, the gemstones in heirloom jewelry are what carry the most meaning. Luckily, upcycling old stones is a very simple process that offers lots of flexibility.
You might consider maintaining the heirloom with simple repairs, or you could opt for an entirely new approach, placing your family sapphire into a gorgeous pendant or a show stopping ring.
These beautiful gemstones shouldn't sit lonely and unused in your jewelry box.
All of our engagement rings are customizable. If you've got a stone you love, we've got you covered.
Redesign Your Heirloom
Listen: an engagement ring from the early 2000s? Not so sure our grandkids are going to hop on that train. Trends change drastically between generations, and it's only fair that the person to whom we gift an heirloom should love the piece, and feel it fits with their personal style.
This is why we're big supporters of the—at times controversial—heirloom redesign.
This option simply doesn't sit right for some people and we totally respect that. The desire to keep an heirloom perfectly intact is reasonable!
But we're also on side with folks that want to honour the traditions represented by the heirloom in a different way: updating it so they can wear the piece daily, and with comfort.
We've found heirloom ring designs to be especially common, where a person might say, this garnet reminds me so much of my Auntie, but I can't stand these weird, beady, knobby prongs. It's a simple task to smooth out an heirloom to make it more accessible in the modern era.
And there's no shame in simply wanting more use from a piece you love.
Refresh Your Engagement Ring
There's also no shame in wanting an engagement ring refresh!
Whether you've had the same ring for twenty beautiful years of marriage, or your newer ring just doesn't fit your style, we encourage you to treat yoself.
This is a touchy subject, though, and not everyone can get behind the idea of changing an engagement ring. But the fact remains: of all the jewelry in the world, you should really love your engagement ring.
Maybe you want a bigger stone. Maybe a halo of diamonds. You want a new look, but don't want to let go of your original.
Consider using the metal from your engagement ring to cast a new setting, or transplant your big, gorgeous centre stone into a new ring with that cute little halo or infinity band.
As you can tell, the theme of this post is honouring the past, our traditions, and the love and sentimentality that come with heirloom pieces without sacrificing our own style and the looks we love.
By updating and upcycling an heirloom, we simply add our own stamp to that piece's history. Then, when we pass it on, it'll be that much more special.
You get the most out of heirloom and sentimental pieces when you wear them. They needn't live out their days locked away in your jewelry box, or even only see use on special occasions. Honouring those that pass along heirloom pieces can be part of your everyday process in no time with some clever, careful upcycling.