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Converting heirloom engagement ring to a pendant?

Rosa

Shiny_Rock
Joined
May 29, 2008
Messages
133
Hi there,

After my mom passed away over 3 years ago, one of my sisters received her diamond engagement ring - it is a very sparkly approximately .75 carat round solitaire (I'm guessing at the size, but that should be about right...)

I was thinking that she should convert it to a pendant so it sees the light of day and doesn't just languish in her jewelry box. I have not mentioned this to her, yet, as I know she will worry about "tampering" with it - it is about 43 years old now. It is so lovely, though, and she does not wear it on her finger.... and I think it could be her "go to" pendant!

Can anyone here offer words of wisdom - like, for example, it is in a very unique swoopy (for lack of a better word) setting - she could preserve that, right, and just have the round ring part "cut off" (or whatever the jeweler will do)?

Also, can this work be done while she waits? I know she would not want the ring to leave her sight...

Thanks for any input!

She actually lives in Houston, so if people here think this might be a good idea, I will ask Whiteflash if they do that kind of work. Seems like I read somewhere they only work with their own jewelry, so if that is the case, can anyone here recommend a good jeweler in Houston who could do this type of work? If not, I live in NYC, so she could bring it here next time she visits and have the work done close to me, if there is someone everyone loves on 47th St!

All ideas and comments welcomed.

Thanks very much!
 

HeartingDiamonds

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Dec 12, 2007
Messages
715
Hi Rosa,

As someone who values the emotions and love tied to heirloom jewelry, I would actually recommend that you leave the original ring intact and create a brand new mounting for the pendant. This way, should your sister (or anyone else in your family) decide to use the stone as a ring again in the future, you will always have the original mount for it! She may one day decide to give it to her children, etc. It will just be a lovely heirloom to pass down to the next generation.

Good luck!
 

Circe

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 26, 2007
Messages
8,087
I think it is very sweet of you to want to set this up for your sister.

I ALSO think it has the potential to go horribly wrong - people can be very emotional about jewelry in general, heirlooms in particular. There was just a thread recently where a poster won a great setting in a contest, offered it to her mom, and got told off for her troubles, for completely unforseeable reasons. So I'd tread carefully, both to preserve her feelings, and your own (i.e., maybe "should" isn't the word to start with, and maybe you should talk to her before setting anything up).

That said, while you could convert the setting with the help of a skilled bench, I think Grace is right, and it would make a lot more sense, sentimentally and practically, to just reset the stone and keep the setting - in case somebody wants to reset the stone in it down the line, use it to set a different stone, etc.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
56,120
I agree with the others that I would not alter the ring. Can she not wear it as a right hand ring? Be sure she has it insured, too!

Also, just fyi, I wouldn't ask the diamond vendors here to do any routine jewelry repair or maintenance unless they made the setting. They are really in the diamond business and sell settings and a little jewelry secondarily. We all need a local jeweler with a decent bench to do sizings and other repair work.
 

Rosa

Shiny_Rock
Joined
May 29, 2008
Messages
133
Wow, thank you everyone for presenting another option. I don't know why she doesn't want to wear it as a right hand ring, but the fact is, she does not.

I am sensitive to all of our feelings about the issue (including my other sister's and my dad, since he picked it out in the first place) and that is one of the reasons I posted my supposedly "great idea" here first for feedback!

It is an interesting option to reset the stone in a new pendant and maybe she'd like a colored stone in the original setting and might like to wear that, or just keep it for the future.

My intention was to offer to pay for the work as a Christmas present, if she is interested. I will be careful in the way I bring it up to her and if she is just opposed to doing anything at all, of course, that is her decision and it will be respected.

On to the other issue: how does one find a good bench jeweler? In the past, any time a piece of jewelry needed work, we took it to whomever we bought it from, but this ring was purchased in the 1960s from a place that no longer exists. My sister does not buy or own a lot of jewelry, so has no established relationships with any stores in Houston. I tried "jewelry repair" "houston" and there were a few results, but wondering how to assess them.

Thanks again for the advice.

Rosa
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
56,120
Rosa, when I am looking for a good bench jeweler and don't have a recommendation, I just choose an expensive, established, local jewelry store, not a chain, because they are probably used to dealing with expensive items and have clients who are particular. That strategy has not failed me yet, but I have had poor work done at a mediocre jewelry store before.
 

Rosa

Shiny_Rock
Joined
May 29, 2008
Messages
133
Hi Diamondseeker!

Thanks very much for your suggestion - next week I will send my sis a gently and carefully worded letter and see if she would like the idea, and if yes, then we could go together to a jewelry store next time I visit. I can call around to several places before the trip to be sure we aren't wasting anyone's time.

Just so I am clear - you are saying it is ok to bring the ring into a bricks and mortar store even though it wasn't purchased from there? If that is the case, I'm sure Houston has some pretty swanky places. ;-) I kinda thought that they would say they only work on items purchased from them.

When I have read the term "bench jeweler" in postings on this forum, I thought it meant an independent jeweler who has a "jewelry repair" shop, like you see occasionally (although it seems less and less often.)

The only piece of jewelry I have that is *not* from a local store is the pendant I had made by Whiteflash about 3 years ago (and thank goodness, that's never needed fixing, but I would mail it to them if it did.) Always wondered when people buy jewelry online, e.g. ebay or whatnot, what they do if a tiny melee stone falls out or a prong gets bent.
 

Modified Brilliant

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
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Mar 24, 2005
Messages
1,489
Hi Rosa,

I'm a very sentimental guy who always tells my clients to really think carefully before changing or altering a cherished family jewelry item. On the other hand...if an item will just sit in a drawer and not be worn; alternatives should be discussed.
It's comforting to know that a family member will continue to wear and enjoy an item that was worn by your mother...in any form whether a ring or pendant. The sentiment is still there, in my opinion. I would also like to keep the setting intact and remove the diamond to use in a custom creation.
There should be many fine independent jewelry stores in your area who provide "in house" repair and custom work.
Check with friends and co-workers to see if they have any recommendations for you.
Many shops today have state of the art equipment (CAD software for custom design, laser technology, etc.)
Visit some in person, ask questions, and get a comfort level with the store owner/jeweler.
Hope this is helpful.
 

Rosa

Shiny_Rock
Joined
May 29, 2008
Messages
133
Hi Jeff,

Thanks for weighing in - the opinion on this board definitely seems to be to try to preserve the original ring setting and use the diamond in something. I plan to ask my sister later this week about the idea and see what she thinks. :)


I do have some items that I *never* wear (my grandmother really loved gold hoop earrings and must have given me at least 3 almost identical pairs in the late '80s for my birthday / Christmas) and they just sit in a jewelry box b/c I can't bring myself to sell them or melt them down for cash, even with the gold prices being high... So I do understand the sentimentality and if she doesn't want to alter the ring, so be it.

Will keep everyone posted.

Thanks,
Rosa
 

Owies Nana

Shiny_Rock
Joined
May 16, 2010
Messages
398
diamondseeker2006|1319236541|3045080 said:
Rosa, when I am looking for a good bench jeweler and don't have a recommendation, I just choose an expensive, established, local jewelry store, not a chain, because they are probably used to dealing with expensive items and have clients who are particular. That strategy has not failed me yet, but I have had poor work done at a mediocre jewelry store before.

Be careful in this regard also. Expensive is not always better.

I trusted my original engagement ring to our local Tiffany's equivalent (not a chain) from whom we have bought tens of thousands of dollars of goods for an estimate to repoint or repair the prongs which were definitely worn. But instead, they "fixed" it without discussing it with me first...and they botched the job. :-o :-o The (formerly) gracefully curved prongs were long and straight. :-o I was very upset that they had "fixed" it without contacting me when I only had left itfor an estimate, but they offered to fix it to my satisfaction, so I left it again. When I returned to pick it up, I now had SHORT straight prongs. Devastated, I took my ring back and walked out of the store in tears. I could not even stand to look at it without crying for several years. ;(

Then recently, I took it to the tiny bench jeweler--a goldsmith with an excellent reputation and very reasonable prices--who had sized one of my eBay platinum purchases. He looked at my engagement ring and explained what had happened: the "expensive" bench jeweler tried to squeeze a basket that was not the right size for my diamond to make it the right size, which then ruined the graceful curves of the prongs, and ruined the whole appearance of my diamond in the setting. When I complained, they did not fix the problem: they simply shortened the prongs. This was extremely upsetting to me, especially since I didn't ask for a repair in the first place. He explained exactly how he could fix it, showed me the correct size basket for my stone...and provided a much more reasonable estimate for fixing my ring. He will get the job, as soon as I get the courage to allow myself to leave the ring with him.

I don't tell this story to scare you, but to encourage you to find out everything you can about the establishment where you leave your heirlooms and precious pieces. Maybe you can ask the bench for some recommendations from people who were not initially satisfied with his work but who became satisfied REPEAT customers. I have not been back to my "expensive" store since my ring debaucle...and now I that I have the PS community for support, I can be certain that I am getting good advice on all things regarding my jewelry, and fair prices for superior quality goods! :D
 

Rosa

Shiny_Rock
Joined
May 29, 2008
Messages
133
Hi Owies Nana,

So sorry for your bad experience - people here on pricescope can appreciate how the prongs really affect the look of a setting, and I am glad that you have found someone you may be able to trust (soon) with your ring.

It turns out it is a moot point for me at least for now.

My sister replied to my email and thanked me for the idea, and said while she likes the idea she is not ready to alter the ring in any way, and likes to slip it on her finger and feel our mom's presence (I've never seen her wear it in public so this may be her special way of remembering our mom when she is alone.) Anyway, just knowing she does that is very sweet and touching for me to hear. I totally understand her wanting to preserve it as is.

Thanks again to everyone who weighed in as it prepared me for her response and taught me a few other things too!

:)

Rosa
 
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