A big part of our job in sourcing and finding new homes for vintage jewelry is the refurbishment of it. Many gold buyers will purchase fine jewelry that is broken or bent out of shape in order to melt it down for its gold content. As lovers of all things antique and vintage, we hate to see history get melted down, so we look for every opportunity to save these pieces, even if that means putting a lot of extra work into them.
Most of the jewelry that we source doesn’t need quite this level of restoration. A simple stone replacement or some professional cleaning and polishing are usually all that’s necessary to get vintage jewelry back into wearable condition, but there is the occasional piece that is in rough shape but clearly has amazing potential.
We recently had the honor of being featured on Insider, where our associate jeweler Macy was able to share about the process of refurbishing a 1930s ring that needed a lot of TLC. You can watch the full process here on Style Insider’s Facebook page.
As you can see in the before-photos, this 14 karat yellow gold ring was very bent out of shape and the surface of the gold was extremely worn. The stone that came with the ring, while a gorgeous green color, was cracked beyond repair.
Macy’s first step was to remove the gemstone and the poorly-made resizing band. After filing down the two ends of the band and hammering them close together, she was able to seamlessly solder the band together with a torch. She also reinforced the prongs by adding some solder and making them thicker and sturdier to later house the new stone.
She then used a flex shaft tool with a silicone bit to remove extra solder so that she could evenly hammer the ring on a ring mandrel into a round shape.
Once the ring had been rounded, Macy used various files, bits, and polishing compounds to polish and smooth out the inside and outside of the band. She finished off the polishing with a cotton buff and then moved on to adding a new stone.
Our owners, Laura and Amanda, sourced a large 1.31 carat old European cut diamond to be the new featured stone in this gorgeous Art Deco refurbishment. After carefully mounting the diamond in the setting, the finished ring was cleaned and ready for our store!
We’ve gotten a lot of comments about how many prefer the green stone in this setting. We loved the green stone too! Unfortunately it was broken beyond repair and an entirely new stone had to be put in. We decided on an old European cut diamond because it was a common diamond cut used during the Art Deco time period (the same era as the setting), and we know how much diamonds are adored today for engagement jewelry!
This special piece has already found its new home with one of our treasured customers! She is over the moon about her new vintage piece and we're so happy to see this ring find a loving new owner!
Breathing new life into vintage and antique pieces is something we take pride in when it comes to our business. While we don’t currently offer custom restoration as a service in our shop, we are happy to source pieces that need new homes and just need a little (and sometimes a lot of!) touching up to find them new homes!