Jewelry Tips

Got (Jewelry) Lemons? Make (Jewelry) Lemonade!

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Imagine this: you’re out shopping one day and you see a gorgeous blue sapphire ring that you are craving to possess. But wait! You already have a blue sapphire ring at home that you never wear. It’s not your style, but you inherited it from your Aunt Gertrude and feel like you can’t get rid of it for sentimental reasons. What’s a girl (or guy) to do? Now, close your eyes and imagine that beautiful gem surrounded by precious metal in a setting that suits you perfectly. Do you feel a warm and fuzzy feeling inside that brings a big smile to your face? I thought so…

If you have a beautiful gem, don’t let it gather dust in a drawer or safe… repurpose it! There are so many reasons to do this, and the potential to save money is just the tip of the iceberg.

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1.  You get a piece of jewelry that is custom-crafted with you in mind. All of your jewelry-related fantasies will finally come true!

2.  You get to actually like and WEAR the jewelry that was gifted to you (albeit in a different form.) This gives you the pleasure of remembering the special occasion the gem commemorates, or the person who loved you enough to pass their jewelry to you, each and every time you see your new creation.

3.  You are recycling! If possible, I use the metal from the jewelry you are repurposing. If not, I use purified and recycled metal for all of my client’s projects. So, instead of buying something new, you make use of things that have already been through the production process.

4.  Did I mention the part about saving money???

I’ve repurposed a lot of jewelry over the years, and I know a countless number of people who have kicked themselves for not doing it sooner. Typically, their hesitation stems from the following concerns, which I’ll also address below:

"I feel guilty about altering something that was gifted to me." Jewelry is meant to be worn, but everyone has their own style. Repurposing allows you to cherish your gift AND enjoy putting it on your body.

"I think the process will be incredibly expensive." Costs are directly correlated to the complexity of the project, its size/weight, and the materials you choose. A simple, sterling silver, prong-set gemstone pendant is much less expensive than a platinum, diamond encrusted tiara.

"I think the process will be incredibly time-consuming." The process can be as short as three weeks, or as long as you need to feel comfortable.

"I don’t know who to speak with about the process." (i.e., who to trust). I suggest checking out Yelp! or another review site. Does the designer have a Better Business Bureau seal of approval? How long have they been designing? Are they able to design in the style you are looking for? Most importantly, do you feel like they are listening to you and what you want? These are good questions to answer before you make your selection.

"I don’t think I deserve to have something made especially for me." I’m not a therapist, but I can speak from personal experience. Everyone deserves to feel special and people find meaning in both simple and complex expressions of art and emotion. If jewelry is your thing, don’t let the naysayers stop you from treating yourself!

Take action on your to-do list and celebrate your accomplishments with things that make you feel beautiful. It’s okay to be “selfish.” You are enjoying this life to the fullest, and make no apologies for it.

Still not sure? How about some before and after shots for inspiration...

If you are ready to get started,or need some more inspiration, contact me today to schedule your first complimentary design consultation. The holidays will be here before you know it, and now is the perfect time to start planning something special for yourself or someone you love.

Spring Clean Your Jewelry Box (or sock drawer…)

Hey you! Yes, YOU!

The one who always wears the same earrings, necklace and rings because you haven’t looked at your jewelry stash in years. Perhaps you don’t have a special place for your baubles and they are scattered to the four winds, making it difficult to see what you have. Or, heaven help you, all of your jewelry is in a tangled mess at the bottom of your sock drawer!

Well, I’m here to tell you: Do not despair!


I’ve been encouraging clients to do this for years, and the results have been enlightening. People have found valuable objects they had forgotten all about, made money, and created stunning pieces using the gems and metal already at their disposal. Here is my simple guide for creating a jewelry oasis that you’ll look forward to visiting on a daily basis.

Step one: Take everything out and separate into four groups.

Group 1: Love it and wouldn’t change a thing.

Group 2: Love it, but needs some type of repair or cleaning to make the piece wearable again.

Group 3: Not crazy about it, but it has strong sentimental value.

Group 4: Will absolutely never wear it, and it does not have any intense emotional value.

Step two: Take action on each group.

Group 1 is easy, put those items back in your jewelry box now and remember why you bought them in the first place…

(Answer: to wear and enjoy!)

Group 2is fairly easy as well. Take those items to local jeweler with a great reputation for repair work (or, to yours truly, if we are near each other).

We always appreciate it if you make an appointment, especially if you have multiple items, and be prepared to spend a little time discussing the “care and feeding” of your jewels. Your jeweler will take photographs of the items and detailed notes of areas that show extreme wear or injury. Sometimes a quote can be obtained at that time, and other times discussions need to take place between the person taking in the repair and the jeweler who will be doing the work (if they aren’t one and the same). In a very competitive area like San Francisco, I find that prices tend to be fairly similar between jewelers, but be concerned if they are extremely low (or high). The old adage about getting what you pay for really is true in this case, and be especially careful and do your research if the piece is an antique or a family heirloom.

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Group 3 is trickier, and I’ll address that in detail in a future post.

Group 4 can be the most time-consuming, but the rewards for your effort can be both fun and extremely satisfying.

Take these items and give them the once (and twice) over. Next, write down the answers to the following questions:

  1. “What is it that I don’t like about this piece and why exactly don’t I like it?”
  2. “What parts of this piece can be repurposed into something I would like and wear?” (For example, a lovely gemstone, or a section of a fussy piece that can be turned into something new and less complex.)

Now the fun part really starts!

Make an appointment with a custom designer who is willing to work with your materials. If there is no seemingly redeeming value in an item, consider exchanging the metal for cash or store credit.  With everything else, you can enhance your wardrobe, and the environment, by turning those unwanted items into something beautiful that you will cherish for many years to come.

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