SPRING CLEANING: How Can I Reinvent My Old Jewelry?

Victoria Thomas

SPRING CLEANING: How Can I Reinvent My Old Jewelry?

March 20 is the first day of Spring. With daylight savings, days are getting longer and warmer, birds are building their nests and tender buds are opening!

In this time of new beginnings, you want a fresh start, too. So we recommend that you start the spring cleaning with your jewelry box.

THE DIRTY WORK

On the most literal level, any piece of jewelry that you wear often picks up a layer of grime.  One of the reasons that precious metals and precious gems are classified as “precious” is that normal wear won’t destroy them.

However, just the busy business of living can obscure the sparkle of your stone and the glow of your gold.

Our advice: do nothing, and consult a professional pronto when it comes to cleaning a piece of High Jewelry.

Do NOT DIY!

You can damage High Jewelry beyond repair with ultra-sonic cleaners and chemicals.

Some gem materials are heat-sensitive. Other materials may react violently to chemicals. Your gemstone may contain inclusions, tiny crystals and fractures that are invisible to the naked eye. When this is the case, the gem actually has some inherent weaknesses that may spell trouble with overzealous cleaning!

Liz Taylor supposedly polished her diamonds with toothpaste – we don’t recommend it.

According to Business Insider, Queen Elizabeth’s staff use gin to clean her jewels—so says her Majesty’s dressmaker, Angela Kelly. Kelly says in her book, “The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, The Dresser, and the Wardrobe”, gin and water help “to give diamonds that extra sparkle.”

We feel – and we feel that the late Miss Taylor would agree – that the above is a terrible waste of perfectly good gin.

Plain and simple, don’t scrub your sparklers yourself. Take real jewelry to a real jewelry for a safe deep-cleaning this spring.

DIVORCE DIAMONDS, AND MORE

But we’re even more interested in another form of spring-cleaning: repurposing High Jewelry that simple doesn’t thrill you any longer. 

“There may come a time

When a lass needs a lawyer,

But diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”

Written by Jule Styne and Leo Robin, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”

True, square-cut or pear-shaped, these rocks don’t lose their shape. But most of us have a piece or two stashed away that we simply don’t wear anymore. Why don’t we wear it today? 

Maybe the style is outdated. Too ornate, too heavy, too much.

Maybe the ring is too small, 20 years after your purchased it.

Maybe one of the side baguettes fell out and you never bothered to get it fixed.

And maybe it’s a piece of jewelry from another life – a first marriage, for example – that needs a relevancy-update.

We believe that there’s nothing as wonderful as the here and now, so we say, pop open the vault and give those rocks a new life.

Take a cue from the ever-newsworthy Meghan Markle and Harry.  Harry had two diamonds removed from the diamond tennis bracelet worn by his mother, Princess Diana, to craft Meghan’s engagement ring in 2017. (Meghan continues to wear Di’s bracelet, too.)

The good news is: diamonds really are forever. Same for that gorgeous Cornflower Blue Sapphire or awesome Pink Tourmaline.

Even more good news: with our staggering assortment of the world’s most delicious colored gemstones, we can create something fresh, modern and amazing that you’ll want to wear every day.

A major change in attitude calls for jewelry rehab. What we find is that someone has a very conventional piece that might be at home at a gala black-tie event, but isn’t really a go-to in these days of casual living.    

You want something that looks great with simple clothes, to add a little million-dollar pizzazz to that Trader Joe’s run.

Ling –Yen Jonesa jewelry designer based in whimsical Gualala, a sea-washed hamlet on the northern California coast, reports that she often is asked to re-purpose pearls for clients. “I love pearls so much, and they don’t have to be fussy. I bring them back to their raw, organic energy,” she says.

One way that she accomplishes this is by reimagining the strand of pearls with one of her unique signature tongue and groove front-closures.  Made of substantial sterling silver, these may feature a stylized face, flying crane or “window of opportunity” design. She often adds a precious cabochon, such as a Peruvian opal, and a dangling pearl to make the new composition fresh and quirky.

There are many ways to update a passé piece. For one thing, we tend to favor white gold over the more common yellow.  Yes, gold is gold, and the customer is always right! But we like white gold for its chill, modern vibe.

Precious colored gemstones can make diamonds more interesting. Pairing your unleashed engagement solitaire with, say, one of our gems like a natural unheated Purple Zoisite or Ceylon Pink Sapphire gives your piece of the rock a new, interesting aura.

Matching is cool again, but we also like pieces that aren’t mirror-images of each other. For instance, with earrings, we like to play with a long drop and a short post, all set with precious colored stones that play well together, but aren’t necessarily identical.

FIVE IDEAS FOR UPDATING YOUR OUTDATED FINE JEWELRY

Set it as a pendant or as part of a necklace.

Many women prefer minimalistic rings today, especially if you lead an active, sporty life. If you’re hoping for a piece of fine jewelry that you can wear every day, let’s take your single diamond and set it as a pendant, suspended from a fine chain.

Or, if you’re up for something more adventurous, let’s play with making your loose diamond into a more complex necklace with multiple colored stones. We can create something that’s wearable enough to work with your favorite jeans, yet opulent, fierce, and one-of-a-kind.

Make it into an earring. 

Perhaps take your diamond and suspend it as a drop earring in a gold setting, mounted to a gorgeous Hessonite Garnet (in a yummy marmalade hue!). Then semi-match it with another drop earring of stones in the same size and shape, but of differing colors.  We can, for example, match your diamond with a white Sapphire as a less expensive counterpart to a diamond, and pair with a hot pink Spinel, smoky gray-green Andalusite, Chrysoberyl or other amazing colored gem for a pair of unique, precious earrings you’ll wear every day.

If your ring had several diamonds, use these smaller stones as gifts for young women in your family.

If you’re feeling sentimental, it’s sweet to share the jewels with the next generation.  We can take every one of those small diamonds and set them into dainty rings or delicate ear-studs for the young ladies in your life. Perfect for Bat Mitzvah, Sweet 16 and graduation gifts.

Put it into a different design for your right hand.

Maybe you actually want to wear that diamond or other gemstone as a ring – just not THAT ring. Older styles tend to set diamonds and gems in a grandiose fairytale mode with lots of bling. If your tastes don’t run to the baroque, we can free your large gemstone of its chorus of small diamonds (see above) and make it the central player in a simply killer ring.  Maybe in combination with your birthstone, to make it really personal.

Use it as a central stone in a bracelet.

If your ring-fingers are already spoken for, have you considered wearing the components of dormant jewelry as a bracelet?  Paired with colored gemstones, set in our signature 18K white gold, we can create a truly exceptional bracelet that you’ll never want to take off!

So, what’s holding you back? Bad memories, bad juju? Just fire up a sage-bundle and smudge the jewelry-box. Have yourself a good cry if it helps. Then give us a call, and let’s create something wonderful for you to wear this Spring, and for many Springs to come!

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