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Jewelry Trends

How to Give Your Heirloom Jewelry Pieces a New Life

Looking to Redesign Jewelry That Has Been Passed Down to You? Follow These Tips!

Lisa Marie Kotchey Jewelry
October 20, 2020

Family heirloom jewelry comes with a sentimental value that is unmatched by almost all other types of jewelry or family belongings. Inheriting a family heirloom piece gives you the chance to reflect on your older relatives and family members that have helped build the family you love today. But sometimes, these jewelry pieces don’t fit our tastes. Or they are in need of repair. 

Instead of stowing away these heirloom pieces in a drawer, you can give them a little redesign! Jewelry pieces are meant to be worn, not hidden away. So follow these tips for giving your heirloom pieces a little facelift now!

Common Techniques You Can Use to Redesign Jewelry

Updating family heirloom jewelry is a popular practice, so you can see what others have done!

family heirloom ring
This classic ring could transform into a lovely pendant. 

There are a number of different jewelry pieces you can customize, including:

  • Rings
  • Bracelets
  • Necklaces
  • Watches
  • Earrings

Don’t be afraid to get a little creative with your redesign! Jewelry can actually be pretty versatile. For instance, diamonds on a tennis bracelet can be placed onto a gorgeous new ring. Old watches can be turned into bold statement bracelets. Earrings can be transformed into stunning pendants. 

Check out some more fun ideas below!


Sentimental rings are some of the most common family heirloom pieces passed down. They might include engagement or wedding rings. They could also be statement pieces that were treasured and highly-valued by older family members. Either way, there are a number of techniques you can use to give your ring a modern look. 

Some people want to keep the gemstones on their rings and replace the bands. Others will completely melt down the gold from the rings to create new bands. You can also replace the gemstones on your rings with new ones and repurpose the old ones for a necklace or bracelet! If you have two or more rings you would like to redesign, you can combine your favorite elements from each of them to create a fresh new ring!


Bracelets are also fun and versatile jewelry pieces you can redesign. Maybe you want to adjust the thickness of the band or add some cute charms to it. Using other antique jewelry, you can repurpose old gemstones and embed them into your bracelet. You can also purchase new gemstones to accentuate the design of your bracelet. 


Want to give your necklace a facelift? Many people opt to change out their chains or replace their pendants. If you have an old ring that doesn’t match your style, but also doesn’t deserve to hide away in a box all day, you can repurpose it into a pendant for your necklace. 


Watches are handsome and practical accessories whose style has consistently changed over time. If you want to change the watchband, it’s usually pretty easy to trade it in for something more modern or flattering to your wrist shape. Alternatively, you can transform the watch into a bracelet if the band is thin enough. 


Earrings are also fun jewelry pieces to customize and redesign. If you don’t usually wear earrings, you can repurpose them into pendants or place their gemstones onto a ring. Some people even turn their earrings into a regular ring! 

3 Things to Keep in Mind When You Redesign Jewelry

The settings, cut, and styles all play a key role in your jewelry redesign

family heirloom jewelry
You can change out the setting and gems for these rings to give them a more contemporary look. 

As you redesign your jewelry, you will want to keep several things in mind. The stone setting and gem cutting style can both influence the overall look of your piece. You may also want to think of techniques for updating your heirloom jewelry without losing their original look. 

1. Adjusting the Setting on Your Jewelry

When we discuss the setting on a ring or pendant, we are talking about the area on the piece designed to hold a gem. With most pieces, you can freshen up an old setting or completely replace it. Doing so can help give it a more modernized look. 

2. Analyzing the Cut on Your Gems

Some gems could use a change in their cut. Maybe they look outdated or they just need a little repair job. There are a number of different cuts you can use for your gems, from oval to teardrop to square. As you work with a professional jeweler, you can look into different cuts that best suit your vision. 

3. Updating the Style of Your Jewelry Piece Without Completely Changing It

Most of the time, you want to give your jewelry a little update without completely changing its look. Maybe you just want to change the thickness of your ring’s band or use a different metal for your necklace. If you’re struggling with coming up with a redesign that matches your style while also reflecting the original essence of your piece, you might want to reach out to a professional jewelry designer for guidance. 

The process to redesign jewelry from older family members can be fun! Not only are you styling the piece to your unique tastes, but you are also playing an active role in shaping the story of the jewelry for future generations of your family. No matter what the return on your efforts is, it’s crucial that you design a piece that you feel proud to wear whenever you go out.

Are you looking for an expert jewelry designer in Pittsburgh to help you update your family heirloom? Lisa Kotchey offers jewelry repair and redesign services for a variety of different heirloom jewelry pieces. Contact her today to get started!