5 Ways to Reset Vintage Jewelry

antique ring jewelry
Image Gallery: Engagement Rings Not only is it beautiful -- it has a history. See pictures of diamond engagement rings.

If your jewelry box is full of vintage pieces you'd like to update, refurbish or even recycle, there are lots of easy ways to turn Grandma's treasures into fashionable accessories. There's nothing wrong with tradition, but when your baubles look like they'd be more at home in a museum display than on your person, it's time to try a few creative renovations.


5: Update a Setting

gems jewelry colorful
A setting can be outdated but a gem is timeless.

If you have a ring, brooch or earrings that showcase quality stones, but sport fussy, outdated settings, redesign your pieces to create a streamlined, custom look. Some fine jewelers specialize in reworking heirloom stones into new, updated mountings. You keep the sentiment of your vintage piece, but lose the old-fashioned look.


4: Aggregate Pieces

If you own mismatched earrings, an old cocktail ring and a lapel pin that screams the '80s, let a jewelry designer combine them all into one fabulous creation. You'll pay for the creative design work, but if there's extra gold or platinum in the setting, you may be able to sell it to the jeweler to defray the cost of the new piece.


3: Mothers Rings

Remaking vintage jewelry into a mothers ring or pendant is a neat way to respect the past while celebrating future generations. These rings usually have one large, central stone to symbolize the mother and a smaller stone for each child, often chosen for the baby's birth month.

A favorite ring stone from your mother or grandmother could work as the mother-stone and become a fitting homage to that special woman in your life.


2: Repurposing

vintage earrings jewelry
The stones from a vintage pair of earrings can be repurposed for a new piece of jewelry.

You don't necessarily have to reset a piece of jewelry to revitalize it. Try using a brooch as a pendant, or a necklace as a bracelet. Coming up with creative ways to use what you already have can make for dynamic dressing and create an unexpected and unique personal style statement. Transform a pair of plain black pumps into evening footwear with some simple clip-on earrings. It's a fashion makeover you can do in under a minute. Want to add shimmer to a basic, black belt? Attach an old lapel pin to it, and you'll create a sparkling accent for a black skirt or conservative suit.


1: Charms

Your vintage and heirloom jewelry doesn't have to be made with precious gems and metals to have importance. The most significant jewelry in your collection may have more sentimental than monetary value. Converting some of these pieces into charms is an inspired way to make them part of your regular jewelry wardrobe.

Add a simple, metal backing and glue or solder it to the decorative front of your dad's cufflinks, your gran's hat pin or your mom's broken earring. That way, you can get your sentimental treasures out of a dusty drawer and into the light where they'll be a reminder of good times and important relationships.


Lots More Information

Related Articles


  • Adeler, Wendy. "How to Recycle, Redesign and Refashion Jewelry." Monkey See. Undated. 7/12/10.http://www.monkeysee.com/play/2086-how-to-recycle-redesign-and-refashion-jewelry
  • Astaire, Susan. "The Baby Ring and the Baby Circle." Undated. 7/15/10.http://www.thebabyring.com/
  • Beading Daily. "7 Tips for Redesigning Jewelry." 1/25//10. 7/12/10.http://www.beadingdaily.com/blogs/daily/archive/2010/01/25/7-tips-for-redesigning-jewelr.aspx
  • Harry Merrill & Son, Inc. "Custom Designs & Redesigns." Undated. 7/12/10.http://www.hmerrill.com/services.asp
  • Jewelry Insider. "Reset It and Forget It." Undated. 7/12/10.http://jewelry01.blogspot.com/2009/06/reset-it-and-forget-it.html
  • Laurie's Diamonds. "Redesign Existing Jewelry." Undated. 7/11/10.http://www.lauriesdiamonds.com/catalog/redesign.php
  • LindArt Jewelry. "Custom Made Designer Jewelry, Repair and Redesign." Undated. 7/11/10.http://www.lindartjewelry.com/
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  • Schaumann, Gretchen. "Vintage Redesign Jewelry - Heading to Cali for the Week-end." 4/21/10. 7/12/10.http://www.junkmarketstyle.com/item/6694/vintage-redesign-jewelry-heading-to-cali-for-the-week-end