A professional jeweler can help you repurpose your old jewelry

Giving Old Jewelry New Life: Ideas for Repurposing Old Jewelry

Fine jewelry holds a special place in our hearts, often representing cherished memories and sentiments. Yet, as styles evolve and tastes change, many of us find ourselves with fine jewelry pieces that no longer align with our preferences. Rather than letting these treasures languish in a jewelry box, drawer, safe, or other “hidey-hole,” why not explore imaginative ways to repurpose them? In this article, we'll delve into ten innovative methods to breathe new life into your fine jewelry pieces, transforming them into stunning creations that retain their timeless beauty.
putting old gems into new jewelry

Reasons Why you Might Want to Repurpose Old Jewelry

There are many reasons that jewelry ends up in our jewelry boxes and goes unloved or unworn:
  • You inherited or were gifted pieces that don’t fit your body or your style.
  • You have less than positive feelings about the person who gave you the jewelry.
  • Your style has changed since you liked the jewelry.
  • Your lifestyle is different, and your jewelry no longer works for your new circumstances.
  • You prefer different metal and gem colors than your current jewelry has.
  • Your pieces are incomplete (single earrings) or broken beyond repair.
  • You have jewelry with broken or missing gems and don’t know what can be done with them.
  • You are really trying to simplify and/or downsize.

Don’t Throw Away Your Old Jewelry!

do not throw away your old jewelry repurpose it instead

As you’re about to learn, there are many ways your second-hand jewelry, old jewelry, broken jewelry, and inherited jewelry can be repurposed or recycled.

Learn More About the Jewelry You Have

Before you can learn what you can make from your old jewelry, you will need to know exactly what it is that you possess. For instance, costume jewelry is far more limited in terms of repurposing opportunities than fine jewelry.

Since fine jewelry is made using precious metals, a professional goldsmith can repurpose the metals themselves into a very different form than the existing piece, whereas costume jewelry metals cannot be worked in this way. You literally can make new jewelry out of old jewelry, but your options are greater when the old jewelry is made of fine materials.

separate fine jewelry from costume jewelry

Similarly, precious gemstones and diamonds, as well as lab-grown gems, are durable enough to be repurposed and professionally set into repurposed jewelry projects. But the glass, rhinestones, paste, and plastic faux gems found in costume jewelry can typically only be glued into a new project, and lend themselves better to DIY jewelry repurposing, particularly because the expense to have a jeweler work on these items is not warranted, based on their low value and minimal durability.

You will need to engage the services of a professional jeweler in order to identify which metals are precious or not, and which gems are genuine or not. Not all jewelers offer such services–particularly if they are not interested in upcycling and repurposing.

A special service we offer at Alara is meant to assist you in exactly this scenario. It is called a Professional Jewelry Box Review.

What is a Professional Jewelry Box Review?

A Professional Jewelry Box Review is an exclusive service provided by Alara's expert jewelers. Alara offers this service because the Alara team really loves to assist in the endeavor of repurposing old jewelry. It involves a thorough evaluation of your fine jewelry pieces by professionals versed in design, gemology, appraising, and buying. Tailored to your specific queries, this service offers insights into your jewelry's quality, authenticity, and value. It's an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of your collection and ensure its proper maintenance and enhancement.


How to Repurpose Old Jewelry

Now that you know about the jewelry you have, it’s time to consider exactly how to reuse your old jewelry. Let’s start with fine jewelry—pieces made of sterling silver, gold, palladium, and platinum.

When Repurposing Old Jewelry, Start With What Captures Your Imagination

Before diving in, go ahead and look inward while looking at the pieces you have and love to wear. Are there any “holes” in your collection you would like to address? For instance, are you awash in earrings, but don’t really have any necklaces you love? Look at jewelry websites or Instagram accounts that offer a wide variety of styles to get ideas.


  • Is there a stone found in your unworn jewelry that really “speaks” to you, and should be considered the centerpiece of a new design?
  • Are you wanting items that are less traditional than you have? Or dressier? Or funkier?
  • Have you always really liked the look of yellow gold, but the price was out of reach until recently?

Envisioning New Jewelry Made from Old Jewelry

If you love to exercise your creative muscles, don’t be afraid to sketch or doodle on your own! While only a professional jeweler can tell you if and how your dream piece can be created, communicating your thoughts is of the utmost importance.

For those who like to let pictures provide 1000 words, feel free to set up a Pinterest board, make screen shots off the internet, or collect links to pertinent webpages or Insta accounts, or tear pictures out of magazines. Don’t worry about if your stones are the same size or shape, you’re just trying to communicate your preferences for style.

If you are wanting to somehow honor your old pieces by making reproductions or by incorporating some of the features of the old piece, be sure to share that with the designer with whom you will be working.

Redesign with Expert Craftsmanship

Empowered with your vision, engage the services of a skilled jewelry designer to reimagine your fine jewelry into bespoke creations. Whether it's resetting gemstones into modern settings, resizing rings, or combining multiple pieces into a cohesive design, professional craftsmen can breathe fresh vitality into your treasured jewels while preserving their intrinsic value.

A jeweler specialized in custom repurposing can also help you navigate the “design waters,” by offering artistic details that would enhance your basic ideas. From designing future heirlooms to making a signature statement piece for yourself, to engaging an artisanal designer with a unique spin, to making that dressy, special occasion piece you’ve always wanted to own, to splitting your gems into multiple smaller pieces to give as gifts…a jewelry designer is ready to help with any and all of these scenarios–and more!

Craft Custom Heirlooms

Transform your fine jewelry into custom heirlooms that will be cherished for generations to come. Work with a jewelry designer to design unique pieces that incorporate elements from multiple pieces of jewelry, ensuring each creation tells a story and holds sentimental value. From elegant necklaces to intricate bracelets, these bespoke heirlooms will serve as timeless reminders of your family's legacy.

craft custom heirlooms from old jewelry

If you are wanting to reproduce an antique piece that has reached the end of its useful life, you will want to contact a designer specialized in antique reproduction


Create Signature Statement Pieces

Harness the beauty of your fine jewelry to craft signature statement pieces that command attention. Repurpose bold gemstones or intricate metalwork into striking cocktail rings, statement earrings, or elaborate pendants that exude sophistication and individuality. Let your imagination run wild as you collaborate with designers to create pieces that reflect your personal style and make a lasting impression.

For instance, the “Kraken’s Treasure” cuff shown below was the brainchild of an Alara client and one of our 80 featured designers, meant to produce a large and artistic piece from many small pieces collected over time. A collaborative design session at Alara was the start of this project.

repurpose old jewelry into statement piece

Many people find they enjoy larger jewelry as they age. Whether it’s greater confidence or just an increased boldness in style, repurposing old jewelry and gems to combine multiple pieces into one larger statement piece delivers perfectly.

Artisanal Masterpieces Made from Standard Pieces

Embrace the artistry of fine jewelry by creating artisanal masterpieces using repurposed materials. Experiment with combining different metals, textures, and gemstones to craft one-of-a-kind creations that showcase your unique style and appreciation for craftsmanship. From intricate brooches to sculptural cuffs, artisanal pieces are bound to become treasured works of art.

artisanal designs from old jewelry

No one designer can capture every possible design aesthetic. Because of that, and because Alara is committed to curation, Alara Jewelry can connect you to the many different artisanal expressions crafted by dozens of different jewelry designers. Often, these artisanal aesthetics are truly specific to that designer–thereby assuring you a one-of-a-kind piece.


Design Couture Accessories

Elevate your ensemble with couture accessories crafted from repurposed fine jewelry. For instance, Alara designers have upcycled precious metal belt buckles into bolo ties; wedding bands into multiple memento pendants; tie tack emblems into signet rings; pendants into hat pins; tiny ring details into charms…

Example of Upcycled Jewelry from Alara

And if you’re an avid DIY-er, you might consider transforming your costume brooches into embellished belt buckles, converting earrings into ornate hair combs, or repurposing pendants into statement choker necklaces.

DIY repurpose old costume jewelry into hair ornaments

These newly upcycled accessories can add a touch of fun and glamor to any outfit, ensuring you stand out from the crowd with your own unique style.

Personalize Bespoke Gifts

When you own pieces that hold more gems or diamonds than you can envision resetting into a single piece that you would actually wear, think about your loved ones. One or more multi-stone pieces can be made into multiple pieces to give as personalized gifts. Repurposing fine jewelry in this way is especially meaningful to the recipients, especially if there is a shared story involved. Work with a jeweler to design bespoke pieces tailored to the recipients’ tastes and preferences, whether it's a custom necklace for a milestone birthday or a unique bracelet for a special anniversary. These thoughtful gifts not only celebrate your relationship but also showcase the enduring beauty of fine jewelry.

Fashion Eco-Friendly Designs

Embrace sustainability by repurposing fine jewelry into eco-friendly designs that minimize waste and environmental impact. Transform outdated pieces into contemporary designs that align with ethical fashion principles, using recycled metals and conflict-free gemstones to create stunning jewelry with a conscience.

By repurposing fine jewelry, you not only reduce your carbon footprint but also contribute to a more sustainable future for generations to come.

sustainable jewelry created by repurposing

As a long-time eco-conscious jeweler, Alara has been offering eco-friendly design services for decades, and we are well-versed in the various ways to achieve the design you want backed by the ethics we share.

Incorporate Costume Jewelry into High-End Home Decor

Infuse your living space with luxury by incorporating repurposed costume jewelry into high-end home decor. Adorn mirrors, picture frames, or decorative boxes with intricate metalwork or sparkling faux gemstones to add a touch of elegance and opulence to your surroundings. These exquisite decor pieces serve as focal points in any room, showcasing your refined taste.

DIY repurpose vintage costume jewelry into home decor

Repurposing fine jewelry offers a transformative journey that celebrates craftsmanship, creativity, and sentimental value. Whether you choose to redesign them into bespoke creations, craft artisanal masterpieces, or incorporate them into high-end decor, the possibilities are endless. By breathing new life into your treasured pieces, you not only honor their legacy but also create enduring beauty that transcends generations. So, unleash your creativity and embark on a journey to transform your fine jewelry into exquisite treasures that will be cherished for years to come.

Donate to a Noble Cause

donate old jewelry to a nonprofit for righteous sustainability

If DIY isn’t your thing, or you don’t want to embark on a jewelry makeover, consider donating your jewelry to charitable causes that support worthy initiatives. Whether it's auctioning off pieces to raise funds for humanitarian efforts or donating jewelry to organizations that empower disadvantaged communities, your contribution can make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. By repurposing fine jewelry for a noble cause, you not only give new life to cherished treasures but also spread joy and hope to those in need.

Alara Jewelry Encourages the Repurposing of Old Jewelry

Ever wished for a team of experts to guide you through the mysteries of your jewelry collection? Alara offers just that with their Professional Jewelry Box Review service. At $150 per hour, this unique offering provides access to seasoned professionals in gemology, appraising, and jewelry design. It's a comprehensive solution that not only helps you understand your jewelry better but also assists in caring for, restyling, selling, or insuring your precious collection.

alara bozeman exclusive professional jewelry box review

Alara's Professional Jewelry Box Review is a valuable resource for anyone seeking clarity and direction with their jewelry collection. From assessing authenticity to exploring repurposing possibilities, this service empowers you to make informed decisions about your precious pieces. Whether you're looking to breathe new life into old favorites or part ways with unworn jewelry, Alara's experts are there to guide you every step of the way.


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