Re-purposed Jewelry Pieces, Breathing Life into Antique and Vintage Jewelry

Diamonds are forever, but other jewelry may not last as long. Time takes its toll on most earrings, bracelets, and pendants regardless of the gemstones that they display. Negligence decorates them with smudges and scratches, but it doesn't mean they are irreparable. Expert jewelers can turn old pieces of jewelry into new ones with zero risks of damage. A professional in this field can bring back to life a piece of antique estate jewelry through jewelry re-purposing.


Here is a comprehensive guide on how to achieve jewelry conversion:

  • What is Conversion Jewelry?

  • Types of Re-purposed Jewelry

  • How Conversion Jewelry Works

  • The Advantages of Re-purposed Jewelry

  • Your Guide to Buying Conversion Jewelry

What is Conversion Jewelry?

Jewelry conversion is the process through which expert jewelers take an old piece like an earring or a pin and convert it into a new one. The resulting piece could be a pendant or a ring in most cases, and it will be referred to henceforth as conversion jewelry or re-purposed jewelry.

Master jewelers put in all their creativity, skills and experience in performing this transformation. A re-purposed piece of antique or vintage jewelry is an exceptional accessory that retains excellence and style as two of its main traits. Jewelry re-purposing is a rather new trend in the luxury market.

It all started at the end of the 1990's when a handful of innovative designers decided to refurbish antique jewelry. Their mission was straightforward: to breathe life back into vintage jewelry. The result was astonishing, and it quickly caught up with old jewelry enthusiasts. At first, specialized jewelers would take worn-out pins and tie tacks and convert them into rings. Next, they experienced with brooches and earrings that they turned into pendants. All of these tarnished jewels were from various vintage jewelry eras.

Before too long, people were bringing in most of their damaged period pieces for jewelry re-purposing. Nowadays, even big brand houses offer “rejuvenation” or “re-fashioning” services. There is a big demand for re-purposed jewelry on the market, and everyone wants a piece of it.

Types of Re-purposed Jewelry

Although antique jewelry owners would like to convert most of their tarnished pieces, jewelry conversion is not possible with all types of baubles. The reason for these limitations is that the re-purposing process can damage complex pieces that contain multiple materials or intricate designs.


The most common types of jewelry conversion include:

  • Buttons to Earrings

  • Pin to Ring

  • Pin to Pendant

  • Earring to Pendant

  • Brooches to Pendant

Professional jewelers can reevaluate old estate jewelry through re-purposing. They breathe life into antique and vintage pieces to transform them into modern jewelry with a story to tell.


How Conversion Jewelry Works

The process of turning vintage or antique jewelry into new, re-purposed jewelry is simple when specialized jewelers do it. Here are its main stages:


When conversion experts examine a piece of estate jewelry, they will take in an initial assessment of the piece and have an idea of the potential result. By using his knowledge of vintage jewelry crafts, the master jeweler will examine the piece and determine if the conversion is possible.


Another feature that would make re-purposing difficult is the shape of the jewelry. A thin, twisted pin may be hard to transform into a ring. Similarly, a fragile, worn earring would be almost impossible to convert into a sturdy pendant. Lastly, pieces that contain plastic or glass may suffer irreparable damage during the conversion process. Therefore, an additional evaluation is necessary to determine if such a piece of jewelry can withstand the heat of conversion.

Jewelry conversion takes place differently depending on the type, material, and design of the pieces that undergo the transformation process. One example of jewelry re-purposing can be changing a pin into a ring:

The jeweler detaches the prominent part of the pin from the rest of the metal and sets it aside. He will later use it as the head of the ring. Next, he transforms the metal stick into a ring according to the client’s preferred measurements. If the customer wants a thicker ring, the jeweler will add an extra layer of metal without damaging the original materials of the pin.

To apply the finishing touches, the jeweler polishes the resulting piece and ensures that it does not display any smudges or tarnishes. Lastly, the jeweler will clean off the residue that appears during the transformation process and give it a final polish. At this point, jewelry conversion is completed, and the customer can enjoy the luxury of a new piece of jewelry born from the remains of the old one.


The Advantages of Re-purposed Jewelry

Wearing re-purposed jewelry is popular and fashionable. However, there is more to it than just the stylish, modern look that it provides. When you choose to convert old jewelry into a new piece, you engage in a green, eco-friendly process or restoration.


Jewelry conversion is a process that does not spend new resources to create a piece of contemporary art. Instead, the master jeweler uses all the materials of the previous piece with very little waste and breathes life into antique and vintage jewelry.


Another advantage of owning re-purposed jewelry is its uniqueness. Each piece of recycled jewelry is a one-of-a-kind bauble that only you can boast about and display. It is a nifty accessory that makes you stand out in the crowd and which comes with a delightful boost of confidence and elegance.


Last, but not least, conversion jewelry is trending because of its symbolism. Every new, re-purposed piece has a story of its own just waiting to be told. A modern-looking pendant may be the recycled result of your grandmother’s brooch. The former tie tack of one of an ancestor who lived more than a century ago can become a stylish new ring.


Your Guide to Buying Conversion Jewelry

If your jewelry box does not have the honor of sheltering any vintage or antique jewelry, you can still buy high-quality conversion jewelry.


Here’s how to do it:

  1. Find an expert in conversion jewelry. It is often easier to get re-purposed or recycled jewelry from a professional than to do it yourself.

  2. ​Remember that a pin from the Victorian age that has been converted to a ring is now a piece of contemporary jewelry.

  3. The good news is that the re-purposed piece now has unique symbolism. In time, its newfound meaning can increase its market value.

  4. Conversion jewelry may cost less than vintage estate jewelry, but it requires the same care and attention. To maintain its value and impeccable appearance, it will need frequent cleaning and storage it in a dry, safe place.

When expert jewelers breathe life back into vintage jewelry they prolong the life of an authentic piece of vintage art. The conversion process may remove its “antiquity” label, but the result is a celebration of modern jewelry. Vintage and antique jewelry deserve rejuvenation. Instead of sitting forgotten in a jewelry box, they can upgraded to match the current fashion trends and become a daily accessory. Choose conversion jewelry for your outmoded pieces and enjoy a new interpretation of style and elegance.