Our Favourite Jewellery Remodelling Stories
Maya’s go-to Guide for Repurposing your Heirloom Jewellery.
When did you last look in your jewellery box to find treasures languishing there? We are talking about jewellery gathering dust- precious pieces you may have forgotten about. They often hold sentimental value but don’t suit your style.
Jewellery in the box is never fully alive until you wear it, so if you’re keen to breathe new life into hidden away gems but not sure how, here are some ideas- told through our favourite remodelling stories.
Sophie’s Graduated Diamond Stud Earrings. Part of her everyday poetry.
These knockout statement earrings were a bespoke piece for Sophie’s wedding day. They developed from a pair of nineties, short-drop diamond earrings given as a family gift and were precious to her but never worn. The diamonds were released from these and supplemented with more for the new piece.
The brief was simply for the earrings to tie in with her white dress and engagement ring (which Maya had made) and to wear daily with jeans. Sophie was happy to be pretty hands-off with the design process, trusting Maya to present her with options she’d like. The hardest part? Choosing between a pendant or earrings and then what stone layout to go for on the studs after being given three choices.
“When I picked up the earrings, they were so beautiful! I’m in love with them!!! They held perfectly straight in my ears and didn’t feel heavy. I saved wearing them for the wedding day, and now I always wear them! They are too beautiful to keep in a box!”
‘Sophie’s earring remodel shows how you can transform an heirloom piece into something fitting for you and never want to put back in the jewellery box again,’ says Maya. ‘I helped Sophie re-evaluate what she had, taking the piece from no wear to daily wear. We had fun breathing new life into jewellery whilst still honouring its story. The results were quite magical- jewels for her to treasure even more.’
The remodelling process allowed Sophie to add to the rich story of her earrings by creating their next chapter and increasing their sentimental worth, now carried in the memories of her wedding day.
Sophie’s earring design is based on our Worn collection Kathrine 18ct Gold and Diamond Chandelier Cocktail Ring, click here to view.
Maya’s Tips for demystifying the remodelling process:
The First Rule is there are none!
So don’t let ‘the rules’ put you off- throw the book away. If you can think of it, we can probably do it.
Be a Part of the Process
Maya welcomes your thoughts and ideas for a piece to complement hers. Plus, having an insight into the process of designing and making is also special- just like your jewellery. Maya loves working with your heirloom jewels; to handle their history, be let in on their stories and transform them ready for their next chapter.
Before a one-on-one consultation spend some time sitting with your jewellery- does it feel right? Does it look right? Think about the gemstones and why they are sentimental to you.
For more jewellery tips and insider knowledge, subscribe to our bi-monthly newsletter.
Don’t be Nervous- It’s FUN! (For you and us.)
People can be nervous about redesigning their inherited jewels, feeling that they are parting with the history and sentimentality attached to them. Still, it’s exciting to imagine what your treasures might become. The trick is to know that you can still create something new and beautiful whilst respecting the original. We always think liberating old stones from heirloom pieces is particularly fun, which happened when Abi came to us with her rare star ruby ring.
Abi’s Ruby Cocktail Ring- A Stone Liberated
‘This is a remodel that re-set my client’s oval cabochon, star ruby in an east, west orientation on an ergonomic shank,’ says Maya. Abi’s husband’s family had inherited the ring, and when they got married it was given to Abi.
It required a brand new design- not something derived from one of my existing pieces and so the initial stage involved quite a bit of drawing. Abi was exacting in what she wanted but needed rendered options to help her communicate this. I’d draw, she’d look and give her input- then I could make tweaks from there.
I freed the stone from an outdated, unworn ring and recut it to release the ruby’s amazing colour. Recutting improved its symmetry and proportions before being set into a beautiful rose gold ring to become a total conversation starter. As an added extra, Abi had six princess cut diamonds left that came out from the original ring, made into simple studs at the same time.’
“Maya is a skilled and thoughtful jewellery maker and artist. Her approach to creating each piece of jewellery is profoundly considered and tailored to the customer. She has reconfigured family heirlooms and created original wedding rings for us. She gives insight into the process of design and making along the way. She’s happy to be flexible and rework pieces until they are exactly what we envisioned. Her designs are a pleasure to wear and often a point of conversation.” Abi
When thinking about how to transform your vintage gemstones, consider the following:
Change the Shape of the Gemstone
Large stones are easiest to repurpose. They are quick to remove, and value is often held in the large gemstones over multiple small ones, just like Abi’s ruby. ‘I can recut and polish them up to change them slightly, and it’s an exciting process,’ explains Maya.
From one Jewel to Another
A ring doesn’t have to stay as a ring. You might like to turn it into another type of jewellery – earrings or a necklace. With a bit of design magic, Maya can nearly always do this.
You don’t have to repurpose everything in one go. You could use some of the stones. Pick one or two and keep the rest for future pieces.
Re-using what you’ve got and making the most of existing stones and metal is a much more sustainable and ethical option than starting from scratch without sourcing stones from mines or transport costs.
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
We see freeing your old stones from their settings as a quiet act of rebellion- it gives these vintage gems- which are so full of character, their new lease of life. ‘Antique stones are different to their contemporary counterparts,’ demystifies Maya. ‘Mostly hand cut, irregular in shape and with deep backs- they’re not perfect, but this is what I love about them. It gives them interest and makes them worth reusing.’
Liberating stones can also be a cathartic, empowering act, as Julie’s story shows…
Julie’s Cluster Ring- A Remember Ring for a Fresh Start
Sometimes relationships come to an end. The jewellery that represents it no longer serves you or resonates negatively.
“Things change, he says. I don’t know how they do. But they do, without your realising it or wanting them to.”
What we talk about when we talk about love.
‘Julie came to me with her engagement ring whilst going through a divorce. It needed reclaiming and giving new meaning. She wanted a ring that she would love, that could take her into the next chapter of her life.
I took her beautiful 2.5-carat diamond, melted down the gold and repackaged it into a scaled-up version of my gold dust textured, Remember Ring that suited the proportions of the stone. Julie had seen this design and wanted to use that as the basis of the new piece. Sometimes the design process is not so much of a leap but rather an adaptation of something I already make.
The remodelling journey felt very empowering. It was a real privilege to transform the ring for Julie- that she trusted me to have open conversations to create a new jewel with positive vibes. It became something nice she could do for herself at a difficult time. Choosing the unique stones to sit alongside her original diamond felt healing.’
Options, Options, Options
When it comes to remodelling, the sky’s the limit. Is it doable? We say YES!
Change it up a little or a lot
From an update to a complete transformation, it’s all about knowing you’ve got options. You can update the piece rather than a complete overhaul, turning it into a more modern and wearable version of the existing design. We remove and reuse the stones, melt down the gold and supplement with newly sourced gemstones depending on your chosen design direction. It’s a fresh start to create your dream piece but with the original materials and a great way to honour the jewellery and whoever or whatever it reminds you of.
Go for a Full Overhaul
If you go for a complete remodelling of your jewels, there are always ways to pay homage to the original. We can echo original stone settings or engravings and add new elements that gently nod to its history- these are great ways to preserve the sentimental value of the jewellery.
A bespoke piece of jewellery can be surprisingly cost-effective and a way of spending less – especially if you’re using elements of the original jewel and mainly only paying for design fees and production costs.
To discuss your dream jewellery remodel, contact .
For more information and pricing.
The Perfect Fit. Click to read
Join our Jewellery Family for bi-monthly newsletter updates on all the latest at Maya Selway. Subscribe