Reusing , repurposing and remodelling your old gold jewellery
Reusing old gold is not straightforward, you may think all your old various-carat gold just gets melted together to form something new, but it’s rather more complicated than that.
In fact, melting together old gold of various carats to form new gold from different manufacturers can create many issues from blemishes in the metal to pitting, and even cracking.
The reason being all manufactured gold has some form of an alloy or various alloys mixed into it, and without expensive metal analysis, I have no idea what they are.
Reasons For Remodelling
There are normally 2 main reasons to remodel.
Being that the jewellery holds sentimental value (possibly your grandparent’s ring) or for ethical reasons (so no new mining has to take place).
If your considering remodelling as a huge cost-saving option it may save you a little on a new piece, but not a considerable amount – although often the new value of your remodel far exceeds the costs involved as you will now have a solid, handmade piece.
I often use the example of a dressmaker that has to make a couture garment out of many scraps of old fabric, sewing each together to make a beautiful new garment. If you can visualize how much more work that would take rather than cutting a garment from a brand new bolt of cloth, then you get an idea of how much work it is to reuse old jewellery.
First, your old gold will need to be refined to bring it back to a material we can work with. This is quite a long, expensive process which involves the jewellery being assessed, weighed, cleaned and any gemstones removed *( sometimes this can take us a full day!) and then the empty gold settings are then sent to a refinery. During this process, all the impurities and any other alloys will be removed from the metal. It is then returned to us as granules to reuse.
Most of the old gold we view is VERY lightweight in comparison to our work (Debra’s rings can weigh up to 10 times more than a commercially made mass-produced ring). So more often than not we must add a considerable amount of new gold into the mix before recasting.
If You’d Like a Different Gold Colour to Your Old Jewellery:
We 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, very low-grade gems in them, which often makes setting and reusing them a challenge. Obviously, we will let you know whether they are reusable or not before we start.
We can also add more gems if needed too.
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 $3000 upwards. However, if you wanted to credit the old gold towards a remodel in silver, expect to pay from $1200 upwards.
The amount of work in a remodel can often be 5 times longer than a piece started from scratch. Whilst every job is completely different we find most gold remodels sit in the $3200 -$6,900 bracket (when crafting in a 9ct gold).
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 under a microscope.
We will also send a remodelling contract and ask you to sign and return it to me before any work commences. Usually, we are happy to take your old gold as a deposit towards the new work, however, if we need to purchase extra gems we may ask for a small deposit.
As with all our 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 can no longer offer valuations on the new work as we are not registered valuers- we suggest you have your new jeweller 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 us and not proceed, you have 6 months to pick up your old jewellery after which we will dispose of it.
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 weighs 8.3 grams only.
All this gold once refined only weighed in at 9.3 grams after refining * ( often you lose over a third of the item’s original weight through the refining process).
I added more gold – and the new ring weighed in at 17.3 grams