Resetting A Diamond Engagement Ring

My boyfriend gave me an engagement ring, which belonged to his grandmother. It’s nice and I appreciate the sentimental value but I would like to reset it.  I would like something more modern…

Any thoughts or advice?

Advice on Resetting A Diamond Engagement Ring

First we have to start off by saying that we LOVE old or vintage engagement rings! They have so much history and character and are beautiful due to their unique qualities. Some have a timeless design. Others have a charming quirkiness about them, while others just don’t work that well for today’s aesthetics.

Given that you are looking to reset the diamond ring, we’ll assume that yours falls into this last category. (We wish you had included a picture of the ring!)

The first tip we want to offer is that you need to make sure that you appreciate the history and provenance of the ring. Think about your boyfriend’s grandfather courting his grandmother and all the thought and anticipation that went into choosing that ring and proposing marriage. It was the first step in creating the family your boyfriend has today.

No other ring on the planet will have that same history or sentiment, so always remember that.

Now on to the question at hand…

3 main components to every traditional engagement ring

They are: the diamond (or other gemstone), the metal, and the setting.

Old or vintage engagement rings are from another time when technology wasn’t what it is today. As a result, many of the diamonds set in older rings were not measured by the same yard stick that they are today, and they shouldn’t be.

When an older ring is taken to be reset and the diamond is evaluated, many couples feel disappointed when they learn that the quality of the diamond is on the lower end of today’s grading scale.

The reason that this is so common is because at the time, they didn’t have the tools to spot internal flaws and inclusions. And in different parts of the world diamonds with a hint of color were viewed more favorably than colorless ones. Please keep this in mind.

You need to appreciate the diamonds and stones in an old engagement ring for what they are and not for what they aren’t.

Resetting The Diamond

If the diamond in the ring is slightly tinted, then we have two recommendations. Go with yellow gold or rose gold for the new setting to make the diamond appear more white if the metal and the diamond are touching.

Also, don’t use white diamond accents for the same reason. If you want to augment the setting with other stones, use rubies, sapphires, emeralds—stones with color so that the diamond appears whiter.

Reuse the Metal When Resetting

Gold was the metal of choice for old rings (although some were platinum too). Either way, have your jeweler melt down the metal and use it in your new setting. Like reusing his grandmother’s diamond, using the metal she wore will also make the ring more special and is good for the environment.

If the color of the metal on the old ring is not what you had in mind, don’t worry. They can use alloys to modify the color for you which they may need to do anyway since older engagement rings often used purer gold which is too soft for the wear and tear we put on our rings today.

Setting The Scene

Finally, the setting. This is really a question of personal taste so do a little research to see what’s out there and what appeals to you.

You can go ultra modern, traditional, classic etc. The only thing we advise is that you keep in mind that this will be the one piece of jewelry that you will wear and see everyday for the next umpteen years. So don’t go too trendy with the design. You may like the trend today but in a few years time you may be looking at resetting the ring again.

Resetting A Vintage Diamond Engagement Ring

Becky from London writes…. I’m not sure if you can help but I was wondering if you could offer me some advice please regarding a vintage diamond engagement ring.

I have a vintage diamond ring that is a family heirloom. It has 3 diamonds and the lady in one of the jewellers said she could have it re-made and re-set into exactly the same setting, in 9ct white gold.

I’m a little concerned though as, compared to other jewellers, the quote is considerably low. She seemed very nice and was very helpful and thorough, but I’m not sure if alarm bells are ringing because the price is so low compared to everyone else I’ve spoken to.

I’m also wary that I know nothing about my ring as to what clarity, colour etc. the diamonds are as I have no certificate because it’s so old.

Do you advise a lab report/mapping of diamonds before handing over to jewellers to be reset?

I asked about this as I’ve heard warnings about jewellers swapping diamonds of engagement rings, but the lady said she has larger diamonds in her shop but told me they could be assessed in her possession.

I’ve also seen a review on this jewellers that was poor. I went from feeling confident that I had found the right jeweller to now being unsure about them.

Please advise if you are able. Many thanks.

Advice on Resetting Vintage Diamond Rings

Your instincts are telling you something and you need to trust them. Before you take an heirloom diamond engagement ring (or any piece of heirloom jewelry) anywhere and discuss the possibilities for it we urge you to get an independent appraisal from a certified appraiser in your area/city/country.

Since you are in the UK, we would recommend you contact the GIA in London and ask them for an appraiser that is conveniently located in your area.

As for the specific jeweler and your engagement ring, the only advice we can give you is that if you have gotten 4 or more estimates from various jewelers and they have all come within a similar price range for re-working your ring and this one jeweler is coming in significantly lower in price we can’t help but wonder why.

The old adage of… “if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is” holds a lot of wisdom.

You should always get a vintage engagement ring appraised and do it prior to taking any type of action so that you can rest easy with any decision you make.