Jewelry RePurposed

lisa lehmann

Posted on August 20 2019

What happens when something old becomes something new? What happens when jewelry gets repurposed? More often than not, there is a story there. A story that will last for generations.

When I get to be a part of such a story? Magic.

What happens when jewelry gets repurposed?

Jewelry is meaningful on so many levels. It empowers. Decorates. Commits us to another. There is always a story. And it's the stories...YOUR stories...that fires me up. When I am given the opportunity to repurpose a meaningful piece of jewelry into another meaningful piece of jewelry, I am truly honored.

I thought you might like to see the process behind the scenes of jewelry being repurposed. I was approached by a dear friends son to take on such a task, needless to say, I was thrilled. He was gifted his grandmother's wedding set to create a new engagement ring for his beloved!  WARNING. PHOTO HEAVY...but oh so worth it!

First. The original set. Beautiful. Well worn. Years of love and devotion. Honestly? It's a bit intimidating. What if a break something? Lose a stone? Those voices are always there...until I sit at my bench. Focused. Ready.

 

vintage wedding set ready to be repurposed

Task one. Take out the stones. This is not as easy as it seems. Many tiny cuts. Slight bends. Numerous broken saw blades and sliced fingers. But finally....the stones are free and carefully tucked away for later.

repurposing a vintage wedding set

Next, I need to melt down the gold to see exactly how much I have to work with. This is definitely part of the refining. So exhilarating to watch it melt and become a beautiful molten piece of gold!

 

Then pour the gold into this mold to create something that I am actually able to work with.

Once I have the ingot it needs to be rolled into a workable size. This takes a great deal of time and patience. Each pass through the rolling mill makes it a bit smaller and more square. But after every few passes it needs to go back under the torch and be annealed. Basically, when you roll the metal it gets harder and the molecules within get closer and closer together. By heating it again the molecules can relax and spread out again. If you don’t anneal the metal it will crack. So it’s a back and forth…back and forth process!

Now it’s large enough and the perfect width to create a ring. Back to the fire. Then I will be able to bend it into a ring shape for soldering.

Now that it’s a ring it needs to be filed and shaped into a ring with soft lines and curves. This just means more filed fingers :) Once it’s to the shape I desire I will polish the ring and analyze the removed diamond.

stone selection

Now I need to create a setting for the stone to sit in. It has to fit the shank perfectly. I will saw the shank apart and file lightly and carefully to the exact angle of the setting and then solder it in place.

Once I have determined the fit is perfect, the setting is ready to be soldered into the shank. Then I need to do more measuring! The stone needs a “seat” in the setting to sit in. It has to be measured accurately and then a tiny seat, or groove, for the diamond to sit in needs to be carved into each prong.

Now for the “fun”. Measuring and cutting. Little bits at a time. Evenly. Every stone has a girdle. The girdle will sit in the seat before the prongs wrap over the top. It’s meticulous. A bit hard on the nerves too! Once the stone sits perfectly in it’s seat I will file the prongs slightly to be less “heavy” and then gently wrap them over the stone.

setting the stone

Now to set the diamond with my best friend the microscope. Once she is tight and secure in the setting I will polish her!

polish

One more clean up to remove the polishing compound and it’s ready! I wonder if she will say yes?

quinn-lane-engagement-ring-low-res-fingers

engagement ring

She did!

she said yes

Thank you for following along with this journey of a ring. Repurposed. Made new. And ready for a new lifetime of love. As you can see there is a great deal of time and effort that goes into creating a ring like this, so I am only able to a do a few of these a year along with my other designs. If you are interested in having me create something for you. Let me know. Let’s start the conversation! Because there is so much value in repurposing your jewelry. And so much a story to go along with it!

xoxoxo, lisa

 

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