Bringing the past into the present: Three ways to redesign your heirloom jewelry


It’s one of our most frequent custom requests: “I want to get engaged with an heirloom ring, but I’m not sure where to start.” 

These customers usually like the idea of using the ring that their mother, grandmother, or other beloved relative has worn, but the original design is not quite their style, may be missing some stones, or doesn’t suit their finger or lifestyle. 

Redesigning an heirloom ring – or other jewelry item – is a beautiful way to breathe new life into a cherished piece of jewelry. It preserves the sentimental value of the piece, and honors the emotional or familial connection the wearer has with the original owner. It’s also often a cost-effective way to get the custom engagement ring of your dreams.

Heirloom jewelry redesigns are a way to bring the past into the present — and even on to future generations, with the help of a design that will stand the test of time.

CAPTION: From a early expression of love to a modern showstopper: Fifteen years ago, she said yes, and the ring on the left got Lucy and Sam through nearly two decades of happy marriage. Then it was time for an upgrade – and time to come to Vinca.
Lucy loved sapphires, she wanted some color, and a more modern band. We talked through options, from simply re-setting the diamond on the current band to creating a fully redesigned piece, with matching earrings. 

What we landed on was a three-stone ring, with two sapphires on either side. More sparkle, more personality, and a piece that will carry Lucy into the future – and likely land on her daughter’s hand sometime in the decades to come.

Determining your heirloom redesign style – three approaches

So what approach should you take with your heirloom piece? Here are three ways we at Vinca can help: 

  1. Honor the original design and add some new touches: If you love the ring, but wish it was more structurally sound or modern, this is the route to take. With this option, we design a new life for the ring that keeps the original integrity and adds some new touches. These could be better, more secure settings for the stone, new gems to frame the center stone, a refurbished or new band, or a custom setting that brings out the beauty of the ring’s elements.
  2. Use the stone (and the gold!) to create a more modern ring: We encourage people to take this path when they’d like to maintain the meaning and materials that make up the heirloom ring, but want to take a new direction in terms of design. Here, we’d help you take the stones and gold from the heirloom piece and design a custom ring that speaks to your style and your desires when it comes to the ring you’ll wear on your finger for the rest of your life. We can even use the gold from the original ring to create the new ring.
  3. Create an entirely new piece of jewelry – such as a pendant or bracelet – using materials from the original ring. Looking to preserve the meaning and materials from grandma’s ring, but want something that will become a hallmark of your personal style? We can help you think outside the box. We’ve reconstructed rings into necklaces, cocktail rings, bracelets, earrings and more. The result is almost always a lifetime piece that speaks to your personal style – past, present, and hopefully future, when you will pass the item on to one of your own loved ones.

Out of the jewelry box and into the light: the heirloom redesign process

The heirloom jewelry redesign process at Vinca is personal, collaborative, and we also hope – lots of fun. For heirloom rings, it looks like this: 

  1. Consultation: We talk with you to get to know the meaning behind the ring, what you’re looking to create, your style, and any occasions or milestone you’d like to remember through the design. We also look through any design inspirations you may have, and share some of our own. This is a collaborative process – we are working together to create a meaningful piece of art. Learn more about Vinca’s process here.
  2. Design: We sketch out and suggest some options for the design. You provide your feedback, and we together decide on a way forward.
  3. Crafting: At Vinca, we craft our jewelry in-store. Our master craftsman will incorporate your stones into a new piece, and you’ll have the chance to try it on and change the size so it’s just right for everyday wear.

As jewelers, playing a part in bridging the gap between the past and present is one of the best things about our craft. Reach out today to bring your multigenerational legacy to life through a redesigned heirloom ring.

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