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You’ve inherited a piece of jewellery from a beloved family member. Congratulations! No doubt, the ring reminds you of your loved one, and you’re thrilled to be entrusted with a family heirloom. 


In these cases, the new owner of the piece often feels torn. The jewellery is lovely, and it reflects the personality of the former wearer, but it doesn’t necessarily suit your personality or style.


Fortunately, there’s a solution to this problem. You can still cherish that family heirloom ring while altering it to suit your style. With a few changes, you can wear it proudly and always keep your loved one’s memory with you.


How to Reset an Heirloom Diamond Ring

What could be more romantic than proposing with a ring that has been handed down through the generations?


Engagement ring styles change, however, and what thrilled brides 60 years ago may look out of place today. But that doesn’t mean your bride can’t wear an heirloom ring.


Since an engagement ring is a piece of jewellery worn every day, it makes sense to choose one that fits the wearer’s style and character. Reimagining and resetting an heirloom ring doesn’t mean completely new elements. You can always reuse the stones, and often, you can melt down the metal and recast it as well.


Since it contains the same elements and the same sentiment, the new ring offers the best of both worlds: family history as well as individualised character. Prince Harry went this route when he proposed to Meghan Markle. Her ring contains two diamonds from his mother Princess Diana’s collection, but it also includes a new stone with personal meaning to the couple.


Find a Jeweller You Love

The first step in resetting an heirloom diamond ring is to find a jeweller you love. You’ll be entrusting a precious family treasure to this jeweller, so do your research. If you don’t yet have a family jeweller, consider working with a Q Certified Jeweller in your area.


Consider the Stone

When making decisions about the new setting, don’t be confined by the old piece. While it’s easier to pop a round stone into a new round setting, most jewellers are talented enough at metalwork to make a stone look different. For example, round stones can be set in hexagonal or even square settings.


Heirloom Jewellery Insurance


Evaluate the Metal

Consider all of your options when it comes to the ring’s metal. Do you want to keep the original design? Does it merely need to be resized? Would you like to melt it down and create something entirely new?


Maybe the metal doesn’t suit the original stone. If the diamond has a yellowish tinge, platinum will only highlight the stone’s lack of colourlessness. But if the coloured diamond were set on a gorgeous yellow gold band, the diamond’s natural shade would be enhanced.


Don’t be afraid to put the original metal to a different purpose. You could, for instance, set a vintage stone in new metal to create a look that perfectly suits your style. But you still have the old metal, right? The original metal may be melted down to create something entirely new, such as a set of earrings or a wedding band.



Before you dive headlong into resetting a family heirloom, keep the following factors in mind.


Antique Jewellery May Be Damaged

Over time, diamonds can become damaged through daily wear. It’s not uncommon for stones in antique jewellery to have chips along the edges. If the damage is severe, the diamond’s structure may be compromised, putting it at risk during the transfer to a new piece. Always consult a jeweller about the wisdom of putting your old diamond into a modern setting.


Diamonds Can Be Recut

If your family heirloom has a diamond that is worth resetting, you might want to consider having it recut to current specifications or a particular shape. Some vintage diamonds have odd cuts, and you may want a different look for your engagement ring.


Keep in mind that this service can be expensive, and you’ll usually end up with a smaller carat weight after it has been cut. At the same time, you might pick up some clarity points by removing surface flaws during the cutting.


Heirlooms Need Insurance Too

Family heirlooms hold a great deal of sentimental value, making it so important to protect them with specialised jewellery insurance. Whether a piece of jewellery is brand new or has been in the family for many years, be sure to cover it with Q Report jewellery insurance. With Q Report, your jewellery will be protected from damage, theft and loss, even when you’re travelling overseas.


To get an instant quote for your family heirloom, reach out to us at Q Report.


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Helpful resources

Diamond Setting Fact Sheet

The Complete Guide to Buying an Engagement Ring

Engagement Ring Shopping Checklist

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