Converting Costume to Fine Jewellery

June 26th 2016

The finish on costume jewellery is done in volume usually by machine and almost impossible to redo economically once it has worn off. One option that gives you a piece of jewellery that will last is to remake it using precious metals and gemstones. I don`t get asked to do this very often but this is a great example of what is possible.

I was a little surprised that I ended up being asked to make this ring. As you can see from the photo below the design is quite complicated and a large amount of work was required. 

The costume ring was much loved by my customers girlfriend and he wanted to restore it as a birthday surprise. You can see in the photo that the plating has worn away revealing the copper based alloy underneath. 

There were some things that I wanted change in the design to make it more durable and also some other refinements. Via email I was able to send digital mockups of those changes to my customer until the final design was approved and we were ready to create the new ring.

The Gemstone

The "gemstone" in the original ring was a black enamel filled cavity. My customer chose to use Lapis Lazuli in the new ring which we had custom cut to the required size.

Lapis Lazuli is a beautiful rich blue colour usually with golden inclusions of pyrite (fools gold) in it. We wanted a solid colour so the gem we had cut was void of all but a few of these inclusions.

Lapis Lazuli gets its name from the Latin word "lapis" meaning stone and the Arabic word "azula" meaning blue.  Many believe this gem to be the stone of friendship and truth. It is one of the first gemstones to be used in jewellery and pieces have been discovered in archaelogical excavations in the ancient cultural centres of the world.

The new ring

The ring was recreated in Sterling Silver and I am informed was extremely well received on the birthday! I do not get asked very often to make such a complicated piece in Sterling Silver but this is one that I was excited to make. A very enjoyable and challenging piece.