Reusing, repurposing and remodelling your old gold jewellery
Reusing old jewellery is a rather complex process
It’s not just as simple as pulling out the stones and melting your old gold together . Although some jewellers work this way, in my experience, this is not a good practice.
This is owing to the fact all manufactured gold has some form of an alloy or various alloys mixed into it and without scientific testing in a lab, it’s impossible to know what the alloy metals in your old gold are, much less their quantities.
Often when you melt old gold all together without refining it first you end up with BIG problems such as pitting in the new jewellery, strange blemishes and/or brittleness. We so often see examples of badly made remodels in the studio where the jeweller has used this method and the results are less than satisfactory. Infact we have seen many, many remodels at the studio where the customer has gone for a cheaper option ( eg: another jeweller) that cuts corners, only to be bitterly disappointed with the results.
*Metals commonly alloyed with gold for jewellery purposes can vary dramatically, but can include silver, copper, nickel, iron, zinc, tin, manganese, cadmium, and titanium
We can still reuse your old gold jewellery but we send it away to be refined first ( after any stones are removed )
Your gold once refined is returned to us as pure gold granules ready for re casting and *re-alloying into any colour gold you like- it is still your ORIGINAL gold, it is just devoid or any other elements.
Sometimes you lose up to 50% of the golds original weight during this process, in jewellery terms this is known as ” roasting”.
Adding to the above comment most of the old gold we view is VERY lightweight in comparison to our work ( Our rings can weigh up to 10 times more than a commercially made mass-produced ring), therefore we generally need to add considerably more gold pre casting.
So if you are considering remodelling as a huge cost-saving venture- think again!
Often the number of work hours in a remodel can be 5 times longer than a piece started from scratch, just removing the stones from their settings can take a full day’s work.
We often use the example of a dressmaker cutting a couture dress out of old fabric scraps, and then sewing each scrap carefully back together to make a beautiful new garment.
If you can visualise how much more work that would take, rather than say having a dress constructed from a new bolt of cloth, then you get an idea of how much work it often takes to reuse old jewellery.
So is it worthwhile to do?
It retains all the sentiments and memories from the original pieces, but now they become wearable!
Debra is renowned worldwide for her immense skill and talent in this genre, you only need to take a look at her remodelling gallery to see the incredible before and afters.
Between her and her husband, they have over 27 years of expertise in not only design but making as well.
If You’d Like a Different Gold Colour to Your Old Jewellery:
Debra can mix different alloys with your refined gold granules before casting your new ring.
Remodelling Your Sterling Silver Jewellery:
Unfortunately, we cannot reuse sterling silver, as it is not economically viable
Reusing Your Gems: Your gems will need to be of decent quality to reuse. Often their size determines how they can be reused. Commonly the commercially made jewellery we see seems to have badly cut, low-grade gems in them, making setting and reusing them a challenge. We will let you know whether they are reusable or not before we start, with a close inspection under a microscope.
We can also add more gems to the design if needed too – and do so often
Please note that working with your gems is entirely at your own risk (you will be asked to sign a contract before work commences).
The minimum fee for a gold remodel is $3500 upwards, some customers prefer to credit their old gold and remake in sterling silver, which is far less costly
Interested in Remodelling?
- Please send a photo of your old jewellery
- Please send a photo of my designs you like the look of as a reference for creating your new piece.
- Provide your finger size and what colour gold you prefer.
From this we should be able to give you a “ballpark” figure, however, sketches and a final quote cannot be ascertained until we inspect the old jewellery closely.
Debra will also send a remodelling contract and ask you to sign and return it before any work commences. Usually, we are happy to take your old gold as a deposit towards the new work, however, should we need to purchase extra gems a deposit may be requested.
As with all my custom work the final product may differ slightly from any original sketches supplied. Please be aware as an artist Debra reserves the right to some creative license on works.
Whilst the majority of remodelling work is done in-house, very occasionally we will send work off to have your gems inset into the new piece by a diamond setter if they appear to have a very challenging cut.
We no longer offer valuations on the new work as we are not registered valuers- we suggest you have your new jewellery revalued as soon as possible for insurance purposes.
Due to the high demand for Debra’s remodelling work, please allow up to 3 MONTHS for completion.
Should you decide to leave your old jewellery with me and not proceed, you have 6 months to pick up your old jewellery after which we have the right to dispose of it any way we see fit.
Here are some before and after photos of old customer gold before it is refined
Photo one on the left shows an old bracelet and ring with stones removed weighing 7.2 grams.
Photo two on the right shows another bunch of old gold jewellery consisting of 3 rings and a pair of earrings which weigh 8.3 grams only.
All this gold once refined only weighed in at 9.3 grams after refining.
We added more gold – and the new ring weighed in at 17.3 grams