What to Do with Old Jewelry
What to Do with Old Jewelry
Do you ever search your jewelry box looking for a pair of earrings or necklace and think, “I don’t ever wear any of this”?
If so, you’re not alone. Jewelry boxes often become a graveyard for pieces we once loved and wore but now are unwanted jewelry. However, over time they can begin to collect broken or outdated pieces that you either can’t or won’t wear again.
If you’re ready to do a little “spring cleaning” of your jewelry box, here’s what you can do with those old jewelry pieces. You can do everything from making a little money by selling to turning earrings into necklaces.
1. Repurpose old jewelry
Repurposing your jewelry is a way to give it new life. Sometimes you are attached to the gemstones because they belonged to someone in your family, or you know that you have a quality piece that needs a minor fixing to make it new and noteworthy. Either way, reaching out to a provider like Alexis Jae is the ideal next step for you to repurpose your jewelry. When repurposing jewelry, look for a jeweler that does custom jewelry work and notice their craftsmanship.
Repurposed jewelry is also highly sustainable. By recycling, you’re helping to reduce the impact of mining which is only becoming more evident. Additionally, repurposing jewelry may be the only way to obtain specific designs in the future. For example, many jewelers won’t create new coral jewelry designs because of their impact on coral reefs. Colored stones (rubies, sapphires, emeralds) are also non-renewable, so reusing these stones as much as possible is essential.
Ways to Repurpose Jewelry
Do you need some items to transform old things in your jewelry box? Here are some ideas — note that the before and after don’t always need to be something you wear! You can still salvage some of those old fashion jewelry pieces you love while saving the high-quality pieces for your remaining collection. You can ask the jeweler if they’ll give you a gold credit for the unused gold.
Examples of repurposed pieces
Turn earrings into necklace
With stones of different sizes, it is best to incorporate them into a graduated design. Graduated bar necklaces and tennis necklaces are super popular choices.
Repurpose small diamonds into a classic
If you have stones the same size, a station necklace is always a great choice. We often make station necklaces from lost earrings if you only have half the pair. Station necklaces or bracelets can be made with any colored gemstone and size stones. If you have different colors, you can put them all together.
Using old diamonds in a new ring
Whether your loose stones are the same size or totally different, they will always look cool in a ring. We have made various thicknesses and width cigar rings with different gemstones, and they are definitely one of the most popular choices.
Resetting jewelry ideas for a modern look
Sometimes your jewelry just needs some resetting. Resetting an existing necklace into a 3 or 4-prong setting or a bezel setting can make all the difference. We also loved making this three prong necklace look more modern with a refreshed setting.
Repurposing heirloom jewelry
This piece is near and dear to my heart because I repurposed my grandmother’s sapphire earrings into this bangle bracelet. I wore it as my something blue on my wedding day.
Repurpose old wedding rings
Redesign your wedding ring into a pendant or diamond stud after a divorce. We have an entire article on The Glistener on what to do with an old engagement ring.
Heirloom jewelry redesign into something unique
Old jewelry usually holds a special place in your heart, so it’s only fitting to make a completely unique piece that represents you or your family. We’ve made everything from fishhooks to fish pendants.
Repurpose hoop earrings
Pave set stones from a ring band or hoop earrings are some of the most fun to repurpose. Bar necklaces are always an easy choice, especially if you’re looking for a piece for layering.
Modernize your charm bracelet
Charm bracelets were once the pinnacle of all jewelry. However, they have fallen out of favor. We love modernizing charm bracelets by elevating the chain, making it a more modern necklace, or adding some modern charms for a curated vintage and contemporary look.
Repurpose pearl necklace
Do you have your grandmother's pearls sitting around? While strands of pearls might be a thing of the past, pearls are very much in style. Take apart your grandmother’s pearls and incorporate them into a modern pearl design. This makes special jewelry to wear on your wedding day.
- Turn your old brooches, necklaces, or earrings into a bookmark using a strip of ribbon
- Fashion a hairpiece, comb, or pin from a brooch
- Make a cocktail ring from a brooch
- Add cheaper stones, such as rhinestones, to a picture frame
- Repurpose costume jewelry (i.e., a string of pearls) to make a custom camera strap
- Repurpose vintage jewelry by adding it to belts
How Many New Pieces Can You Make?
When you think about “trading in” your jewelry, many people believe repurposing their jewelry is a one-for-one trade. However, depending on your selection, you can often use the materials from one piece of jewelry to make several items.
For instance, you may have enough to make more than one if you want to reset diamond earrings into an engagement ring. Likewise, if you're going to turn earrings into a necklace, you may have more than enough stones to make a necklace and matching bracelet or a couple of different necklaces.
Can You Repurpose Inheritance Jewelry?
It’s a dilemma for many. They end up with a ring from grandma, a necklace or two from mom, and legacy pieces from other women in their family. They’ve inherited jewelry from a family member that doesn’t fit or isn’t their style. As a result, they don’t wear it. But what should they do with it? Can they repurpose it? Is that okay?
There’s no straightforward etiquette in this instance. The truth is that many jeweler wearers purchase pieces that they can wear now and pass on in the future. So, if someone who receives that heirloom starts to discuss repurposing it, it can be a bit startling to either the person or their memory. For example, perhaps your grandma has already passed and given you her pearls, but others remember her wearing them in their existing form. They may not take kindly to altering them, even if they’re technically yours.
After you receive a gift or your loved one passes, give it some time. Often, the best way to honor your loved one who left you this inheritance jewelry is to wear it. And wearing repurposed jewelry is much better than not wearing jewelry because it doesn’t fit or isn’t your size. However, it can take some time for others to appreciate this sentiment.
2. Sell jewelry for cash
Selling your jewelry is a stellar option if the item meets a couple of criteria. First, you probably won’t want to sell jewelry that has sentimental value. If this was your mother’s ring or grandmother’s brooch, it’s probably not top of your list to sell and better to repurpose.
Second, you should ask yourself whether it’s a high-quality piece. Many people purchase costume jewelry before they invest in higher-quality fine jewelry. This isn’t anything to be ashamed of. Still, old costume jewelry doesn’t have much (or any) resell value, especially when you’re looking to sell to a local jeweler—precious metals like gold jewelry hold value. During times of market uncertainty, gold jewelry often rises in value.
This point sometimes raises more questions for people who don’t remember where they purchased an item or perhaps received a piece of jewelry as a gift. As a result, they think it could have some value when it doesn’t. Or vice versa. They believe it may be worth nothing when it is worth something.
Before you take your items in for sale, make sure you do your research. Understand what they’re worth. Do you know where they’re purchased from? What type of metal are they? Whether they’re plated or filled? Do you have certificates showing you the quality of the stones in the piece? While a trustworthy jeweler could help you backtrack and find some of this information, it’s worthwhile to come armed with as much information as possible.
Finally, ask yourself what kind of condition the item is in. Is the piece hardly worn? Has it been used and abused? Is it broken beyond repair? Just because you’ve used a piece of jewelry doesn’t mean it has no resale value. Jewelers can even transform some broken pieces of jewelry into something new and incredible. They can take a broken diamond necklace and use the stones to reset diamond earrings. With that said, there are times when jewelers can’t do anything.
While you may be trying to get rid of items in your broken jewelry box that you can’t wear, you probably won’t get as much value for broken items.
Also, be sure to do your diligence about the price you’re getting. Figure out the gold weight and the current price of gold. When selling jewelry, it is important that you’re going somewhere reputable.
3. Trade in your jewelry
If you’re actively interested in expanding your jewelry collection, consider simply trading in any items you want to clean out from your jewelry box. Jewelers will often offer trade-in credit slightly higher than their cash offer. When purchasing items like diamond studs, engagement rings, and wedding bands, it’s always a good idea to ask the jeweler what their trade-in policy is.
There are a couple of great things about going this route. First, you’re essentially upcycling your jewelry. Nothing is sitting around in your house or getting thrown out. Second, you’re directly offsetting your costs for your next purchase.
When trading in your jewelry, you have a few options, but not all are created equally in our minds. You can head to a pawn shop, “We Buy Gold” dealer, thrift store, or flea market. However, this will likely equate more to a sale than a trade. Not a bad thing, but it’s undoubtedly less straightforward if you’re actively interested in obtaining new jewelry. Additionally, transactions like this can put people on edge if they aren’t accustomed to dealing with the bartering dynamic.
Another option is approaching your local jewelry store to see if they offer a jewelry trade-in program. They’ll likely need to see and assess your jewelry in person, but this can also put people at ease, especially if they’re looking to work with a jeweler on designing pieces in the future. We recommend always asking the jeweler you got it from first to unlock the most value.
Remember, there’s no point in owning jewelry that you don’t wear. If you have something that’s been sitting in your jewelry box because it’s broken jewelry, the style isn’t quite right for you, or it was a trendy piece that you no longer wear, then do something with it! Sell it, trade it in, or repurpose it into a new design.
Repurposing is a great solution for people with sentimental items that they don’t necessarily want to get rid of. However, if you’re not wearing it as is, repurposing, it is a way to ensure you can make it worth its investment.
Our mission at Alexis Jae is to help people skip the middleman and invest in high-quality, ethically sourced jewelry. Let us design a custom piece from existing jewelry for you. Start shopping today and save 50% off traditional retail prices!