Jewelry History

Heirloom Jewelry and Inherited Diamonds and Gems – An opportunity to design truly multi-generational Jewels with priceless sentimental value

Join the bandwagon and learn how repurposing and restyling your old family jewellery can turn out to be an amazing decision! After all who doesn’t want to upgrade their jewellery collection with diamonds and gems of infinite intrinsic value without exhausting their savings?

Your grandmother’s pearls, your Uncle’s Signet ring and other dynastic jewels are just some things you might have seen growing up being worn by family. Passing on family jewels is gaining momentum as factors such as a more prosperous previous generation and the approach to jewelry as a dynastic investment gain a foothold.

Heirloom jewellery is often associated with iconic purchases made by previous generations at landmark points in their lives and injected with sentiment by the sheer amount of times worn by it’s original owner or even the first, second or third person to inherit it.

Legacy jewelry is one that takes on exponential sentimental value with each hand it passes through that is irreplaceable by a modern jewel regardless of whether the actual price tag of a new jewel is higher than the inherited one. There are sentiments attached to it that travel from one generation to another. The nostalgia wins over the fact that the heirloom jewellery may turn outdated with time because when it does, you can always have it repurposed and redesigned breathing new life into your family treasures.

What does it mean to repurpose old family jewellery?


While keeping the sentimental value intact, repurposing can range from a simple re-polish or re-plating of something that is otherwise aligned to your taste but has aged a little or isn’t in the right metal tone.

For bread and butter inheritances such as Diamond Tennis Bracelets and Diamond Wedding Bands, we have clients say things like, “I would just love wearing this ring if it was in white gold,” which for a small fee and albeit a short term solution can be achieved just by replating the item in the preferred gold tone. This will usually last a few years to a decade depending on wear and tear but is worth the cost compared to the cost of a new replacement. Rose to White and White to Yellow Gold tone are things clients do even after a few years of wearing jewelry they bought just to get a new look and feel out of something without having to buy a new bespoke engagement ring, personalised name pendant or diamond studs for example.

Then you have repairing and restructuring jewelry which is required when some of the jewels have been stored improperly or are just beaten up from a life time of and wear tear. Shanks cracked whole, prongs sheared off, clasps broken and nuts lost. When fixing these damages we at Gemrize will often also check stones and see if clients want to make minor modifications without remaking items completely. E.g. a Large Gemstone Bangle or Diamond Cuff Bracelet might be too gawdy for someone to wear but when they get the clasp repaired from us – we might ask if changing the piece to matte finish would result in them wearing it – then we often get a eureka moment and a resounding “yes”. And something that was collecting dust in a jewelry box somewhere but has high value both in terms of gem content and emotions will now get worn daily.

And finally we have people bring us items which are damaged, totally out of fashion, missing gems and have broken stones. These usually need to be dismantled completely and after doing an inventory to see what can be salvaged and repurposed we can then weigh up our options. We will usually ask clients if they want a single piece of jewelry or a handful of smaller every day wearables.

We can then recut and repolish gems, melt down metals and then with the list of raw materials design things that can both have elements of the previous avatar while reincarnating the jewelry into something with a more contemporary look and feel.

The whole jewelry as an investment angle we believe then bears fruit when clients find the central 5 carat Blue Sapphire they inherited in a totally out of fashion peacock brooch will make a very nice centre gem in a Sapphire Cocktail Ring or even Custom Made Sapphire Engagement Ring.

And whereas their friends would have to take a big hit to their wallet to have the same ring, they need to add only a nominal amount to cover the cost of a few accent diamonds, precious metal inputs, design fees and labour to hand craft their tailor made jewelry. This usually has them nostalgically thanking their Great Aunt, Cuddly Grandma, lovable Godparents or other elders.

We often tell clients that being able to turn around and sell a Tourmaline birthstone pendant to serve as a cash injection to offset a larger investment further down the line is a scenario that is unlikely to go as planned. Diamonds, gems and fine jewelry don’t liquidate the same way traditional asset class investments such as gold and stocks do. Instead, we tell people who engage us to design their personalised engagement ring, anniversary gemstone rings, push presents and other jewels that in five or six decades when this piece of jewelry is passed on, the recipient will cross check the going rate for something comparable and thank your soul for not having to incur that expense at that point in the future. And they will do this with a wry smile on their face while looking down at that unique diamond or gemstone ring they inherited from you. But of course if they don’t like the design as it is, they can always have it redesigned knowing the whole time that the jewelry has your signature spirit, is much multi-generational and belongs to an entire family spanning all times and tastes.

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