What To Do With Old Diamond Ring | Let’s Consider Your Options!

Imagine rummaging through the attic and you come across an old jewelry box. You find an old wedding ring. You’ve now found yourself in possession of a diamond ring. The question of what to do with an old diamond ring, especially if it holds sentimental value, can be exciting. Many people today enjoy re-purposing and re-using parts of their old diamond rings to mark a new era in their lives. There are many options out there, as long as you’re open to the possibilities. 

What To Do With An Old Diamond Ring?

This is a decision that usually requires some thought and consideration. We advise taking your time, as you may be able to make some extra cash from the transaction. At the same time, resetting diamonds or a ring redesign is a perfect way to breathe new life into old gold. Some questions to ask yourself about what to do if you have an old diamond ring or other old precious jewelry lying around:

  • Is there a reputable appraiser or jeweler in my area? Do they offer free appraisals?
  • Is there a lot of old jewelry you have to appraise? Do you need help with selling your heirloom jewelry?
  • Is this an old engagement ring? Will anyone care if this is remade into custom jewelry or a new ring?
  • Am I comfortable with this ring being made into something different?
  • How quickly do I want to sell this ring?
vintage jewelry in the box

Appraisal: Finding the Right Jeweler

If you plan to resell or repurpose your family jewelry or any heirloom diamonds, consider using the majority of your time in finding a reputable jeweler. This can be especially valuable if you are selling more than one antique ring or other pieces. Below are some guidelines listed. These are not hard and fast rules, as each establishment may operate differently. They are good ideas to keep in mind as you search for one:

  • Does this professional have a brick-and-mortar store? This is important if you plan to revisit them or have questions. A physical store provides assurances that you can come back to resolve issues.
  • Is this professionally certified? Real diamonds are certified, and so are the tradespeople that handle them.
  • Do they make you feel comfortable when speaking to them about their knowledge of precious metals and stones?
  • Do they offer discounts or maintenance agreements? This is important to know if you plan on making new jewelry or remaking it.
  • Does this professional offer a free consultation? Sometimes the cost of the ring itself can be worth less than the consultation.
hands in white gloves holding a red diamond and a loupe

Resell It: Is it worth it?

Selling an older ring comes with its pros and cons. Factors that come into play are how old the engagement ring is in the first place. This can be part of an appraiser’s considerations. Some ring settings and cuts fall out of style. In decades past, settings have been much higher and that was the preferred style. Other factors do not change as often. The 4C’s: cut, color, clarity, and carat, can generally determine the resale value of an old diamond ring. 

The resale value is the price a person is appraised for resale. Sometimes this is through direct sale to another consumer, or through a third party or expert. For jewelry like old wedding rings or engagement rings, it usually will be appraised by a jeweler. The resale value, as expected, is usually less than the price sold, and can be significantly more if bought at a retailer.

If you are selling one, you can generally expect the value of your diamond jewelry to be less than half of the cost of purchase.

closeup of a diamond ring in the box

Repurpose It

Estate jewelry has lived many rich life experiences over the years. A ring may not be perfect, but some parts can be repurposed as other jewelry or in completely new ways. If the estate jewelry has significant stones, it is possible to repurpose them into another piece of jewelry. Gemstones are valued for their beauty, but also their longevity. The beauty of repurposing a stone or simply replacing lost diamonds from a bracelet or ring is in preserving the legacy of the heirloom.

Repurposing Large Diamonds

Beautiful stones that are larger are often easier to repurpose. Most rings will have a center stone or up to three set stones in the center. Or if you have a bracelet or earrings, often there are single, or several large stones in the jewelry piece. Depending on how it is set, the best way of repurposing larger diamonds is to turn them into another jewelry piece. 

For example, for a wedding band with a singular stone, you may just want to replace the band. Some may argue this is the best way to preserve the original sentiment of the ring. In some situations, it may simply be about upgrading a band that has been tarnished over time. This is also the best way to modernize an old engagement ring. 

a gold diamond ring on the person's hand

Rings can be replaced with similar metals like gold, yellow gold, white gold, platinum, palladium, and sterling silver. Maybe the piece is gold jewelry, and that won’t look good on you. You can also substitute the precious metal with contemporary metal like tungsten, titanium, stainless steel, rose gold, or cobalt. Contemporary metals are more common than precious metals but are just as durable, easily maintained, and just as versatile in color and style.

Repurposing Smaller Diamonds

Sometimes, depending on the design, smaller diamonds or stones may be inlaid around the center stones. Smaller stones are often easily lost. When re-making a piece of jewelry, it is also more difficult to replace and mount them due to its small size. It may be difficult to re-purpose them without them being damaged. When assessing which diamonds or parts of a ring to save, it is worthwhile to have a professional jeweler assess which pieces are worth preservation.

a person holding a diamond ring

Remake the Ring

This article touched on replacing a band with another precious metal if it is tarnished as a jewelry redesign; sometimes you want to redesign wedding rings altogether. Remaking the jewelry piece entirely with old diamonds is a great way to create a new wedding ring. Some ways to repurpose old precious stones is to turn them into something new like earrings, a necklace, or bracelets, adding them into another piece of jewelry, a hairpin, or broach. This can be a fun and exciting way to honor something like the family heirloom ring.

A new piece like a new necklace or bracelet seems like expensive cost because there is more material. But consider this example. Depending on your jewelry designer, they can reset the diamond or diamonds in a more modern setting. This style is often more delicate and uses the same or less amount of precious metals in the chain. In summary, it does not always have to be cost-prohibitive to remake something like an old silver or gold ring. 

various pieces of diamond jewelry

Wedding ring redesigns can become very boutique as well. Most jewelers are adept at repurposing jewelry, like with one large diamond. If you want to create a new piece or new engagement ring from two, you may need to work with someone who specializes in repurposed jewelry in order to make your custom design.

Whether you are selling an old ring, selling small diamonds, or looking to create a new design, the options for how to reuse diamonds or old rings are endless in this day and age. Some people find their family ring in its original form is the perfect ring. You may be the type to cherish forever the original intent of the ring, imperfections and all. Whatever the situation, the market for wedding rings is vast and worth exploring.

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