Altering Old Jewelry - Is it a no no?
Jewelry is one of the most handed down family heirlooms. These important and sentimental treasures run the gamut when it comes to age, style, and of course, value. So what to do when the bequeathed doesn’t really care for the design, and it is not something they would particularly wear, yet it is special because it was given to them with love? Opinions definitely differ. Should the vintage diamond necklace be turned into a ring? Should the stone of the ring be turned into a pendant? Is disassembling, melting and redesigning a piece of jewelry a no no?
Let’s dive in a little. Of course, every situation is different and every family is different. If a piece is given to a loved one while the giver is still alive, it can be with specific instructions such as “keep it in the family.” In this instance, and if the dynamic is suitable, having an open discussion about the future of the piece, even discussing ideas of “reworking” the piece would be very beneficial. On the contrary, if a piece is handed down from an estate, or belonged to a loved one who has passed, altering the item could become a guessing game. Some would say absolutely not. Others, are a little less conventional.
First, consider the individual who owned it and passed it down. How important was the piece, what did it mean to them? This question may remain unknown if this person has already passed . Second, consider their personality. Would they mind their loved one changing the jewelry to their own style and desired function? Would it have made them happy that someone has a piece of jewelry they will wear in remembrance of them? Or, would they prefer it stay in it’s original state? The answer could be a mystery or a slam dunk. If monetary value is the determining factor, but the bequeathed doesn’t plan on selling it then it is a moot point. Bottom line is, may be best to listen to the heart.
I recently converted a watch into a bracelet. This history of the watch was unknown, so that definitely made it easier. I would have never worn the watch. It would have sat in the back of a safe. Now, I have a beautiful piece of jewelry that I will wear, AND, it now has a story!
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