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Rethink, reuse, recycle: Giving new life to hand-me-down gems

Value in vintage

Over the years, many beautiful antique stones have been re-cut to modern brilliant proportions in order to ‘improve’ them.

Fortunately, however, appreciation for these vintage cuts has grown, and they are now valued for their antique beauty. This is best illustrated by the  recent popularity of modern cushion-cut diamonds—although the machine-like precision of ‘new’ cushion cuts have lost the subtle beauty of a genuine antique cut with its inherent asymmetry.

One of my customers once purchased a large antique cushion-cut diamond that had been previously set in a ballerina-style ring and was surrounded by baguettes. She loves large, contemporary rings, so her new, 18-karat yellow gold ring presented the main stone in a partial-bezel setting with a mirror polished surface under the stone. The baguettes were channel-set all the way around the band, making good use of the graduated sizes.

Another customer brought me a ring and a pair of plain princess-cut diamond earrings, and requested a new ring. The original ring contained a double row of small, invisibly-set princess-cuts diamonds. The quality of the setting was suspect and I was afraid to even put it in the ultrasonic, let alone recommend frequent wearing for fear of stones falling out.

Re-setting the 18 diamonds in a new ring wasn’t practical, so I suggested adding to the ring to strengthen it. First, we built up the channel walls, and then crafted two new side plates and bezel-set the two diamonds. The side bands and substantial bezels provide structural support and protection for the original ring, and will prevent any stress on the fragile invisible setting.

Fully restored flower and bell motif rings with a diamond and an emerald.

 

 

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