Reuse Old Jewellery FAQs
What kind of metals can be re-used?
Some alloys are better suited to being re-used than others. Here is the “good, better, best” breakdown of re-usable alloys. The best alloys to re-use are any karat of yellow or rose gold. The ‘better’ alloys or the next best are platinum and palladium. The ‘good’ metal is silver but it doesn’t often make sense to re-use silver from a cost perspective. Unfortunately the alloy that is used to create white gold makes it very brittle and not suitable to be reused. Any white gold that you have can be taken in to be recycled and a credit can be applied to your project.
Can I re-use my gemstones?
When reusing jewellery I always do an initial assessment while the stones are still set to determine their condition. If there are any that I feel are not in good condition I will advise against using these. Once I receive the go ahead to remove the stones I will do another assessment after the stones are removed from their settings. Sometimes the metal of the setting will obscure chips or damage to stones that are not noticeable until the stones are removed. I will then inform you if there are any that are unusable. There is also always a small risk that the process of removing the stones will cause damage. I take the utmost care when removing stones but with stones that are smaller than 2mm there is a greater risk of damage. If you require more stones I have access to a wide variety including genuine and lab created stones. Also, it’s important to keep in mind when matching old stones to new that they may be cut differently. If new stones are necessary I will ensure the new stone cuts match the old ones.
Can I change the colour of my gold?
Unfortunately not. But there are options! If, for example, you have yellow gold and you would like a white gold ring you could submit your yellow gold for recycling and receive a credit. You can apply that credit to new recycled white gold or I can also source metals from Umicore Precious Metals who are ranked #1 in the Global 100 most sustainable companies in the world index http://www.umicorepreciousmetals.com/Sustainability/ .
How much will it cost?
Since you will be reusing your own materials this will reduce your costs vs. a new piece. This is applicable with all alloys except silver. With silver the labour costs outweigh the material costs. In general, you can expect to save about 1/3 the cost of a new piece. The amount of cost savings depends on the type of materials being reused but if, for example, you are reusing gold and diamonds your cost savings will be significant. If we do not need to add any new materials to your project then what you can expect to pay for are the labour costs involved. The labour includes such things as dismantling your old jewellery & removing the gemstones, preparing the metal, cleaning the gemstones, mock up images, CAD labour charges, a wax model or 3D printed wax model, casting house fees, setting fees (if applicable), final finishing and polishing etc. If you have more than enough gold than is required for your project you can choose to either have it returned to you or use it as a credit toward your piece. Find out more information on the potential costs involved here.
What if I’m not local to Toronto and I want you to reuse my jewellery?
No problem! This process can also easily be completed long distance. Just get in touch with me and we can start the conversation. With clear and frequent communication you will be confident each step of the way! Before shipping your jewellery please get in touch with me so that I can provide you with specific instructions.
Where do you source your gemstones?
I have strong and trustworthy relationships with the gemstone companies that I source my stones from. All of these companies are small, family owned businesses, extremely reputable and committed to the ethical sourcing of gemstones. My diamond suppliers adhere to the Kimberley Process for diamonds which strictly outlines the protocol and the necessary accompanying documentation that traces the journey of a diamond from the mine to the gemstone dealer. Significant progress has been made, it is now estimated that conflict diamonds account for less than 1% of the total amount of diamonds in circulation in the world, but work remains to be done. Canadian diamonds are an option if you would like a 100% guarantee that a diamond is conflict-free. Each Canadian diamond is laser-inscribed on the girdle. It’s important to note that Canadian diamonds tend to be about 30% more expensive than other diamonds of similar size and quality. Unfortunately, there is no similar procedure in place for coloured gemstones. Coloured stones are found all over the world but the most abundant sources are typically Southern & South-East Asia as well as South America. If you are not comfortable with using a mined gemstone at all then there are other options. There is a large selection of lab-grown and man-made gemstones available such as Moissanite. The best option, if it’s available, is to re-use a stone from a piece of old or inherited jewellery. That way absolutely nothing new has been mined from the earth.
Do you work with lab created stones such as Moissanite?
Absolutely! I enjoy working with lab created stones of any kind. They are very suitable for jewellery-making. Every stone does have it’s vulnerabilities though so it’s important to take these into consideration during the design process. I can source these stones for you or, if you prefer, you can source them yourself. I can easily work either way.
What if I don’t have enough metal to make my project?
When re-using metal I will require about 30-50% more metal than is actually needed to create the piece itself. This is because we need extra metal for the ‘sprue’. During the metal casting process molten metal is forced up a channel (sprue) into the void left by the model of your piece. It is in this void that your piece is created. But in order for the metal to reach this area to create your piece we need extra metal to flow up the channel and create the sprue. If you don’t have enough metal and we need to make up the difference I can easily add new recycled metal or source some from Umicore Precious Metals who are ranked #1 in the Global 100 most sustainable companies in the world index http://www.umicorepreciousmetals.com/Sustainability/ . After I remove the sprue from your piece I can either return it to you or you can also choose to use it as credit.
I really want to re-use my white gold, what are the risks?
Ok, I’m just going to say it one more time, promise:) White gold is not a great alloy to re-use. It’s brittle and prone to porosity (teeny, tiny air bubbles) and cracking. That being said, I have re-used it before with success. If you really, really want to re-use your white gold keep these two things in mind. One: always add new metal to the old metal, this will greatly increase the chances of success. Two: only re-use it in an ‘organic’ design where any potential blemishes in the metal can be easily disguised. As I say to my clients who want to re-use their white gold ‘I’m willing to try if you are’. Worse comes to worse we melt it and do it again!
What if I have metal left over?
If you have more than enough gold than is required for your project you can choose to either have it returned to you or use it as a credit toward your piece.
I want to re-use my gemstone but it’s chipped or worn – can you fix it?
Yes! In order to fix a gemstone that has worn facet edges or a chip it will need to be re-cut. I have a highly-skilled lapidary (stone-cutter) whom I call on for these gemstone emergencies. Re-cutting the stone will mean some loss of material but we take the greatest care to remove as little as possible. The result – your stone will look brand new!