How to upcycle treasured jewellery

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  • Keen to breathe new life into sentimental jewellery but not sure how? Here’s an idea...

    What on earth are you meant to do with sentimental or treasured pieces of jewellery that you just don’t feel like wearing anymore? It’s a question I’d been asking myself, after rediscovering two special trinkets – my parents’ wedding rings. When my dad passed away in 2005, I inherited both, since my parents weren’t officially together when he died. These two simple gold bands – one comically large, the other impossible dinky – sat languishing for over a decade in various drawers and boxes as I moved through life. From my family home to university and student houses to countless London house-shares, it was only when lockdown boredom kicked in – and the inevitable sorting and sifting through long-forgotten nooks and crannies began – that I stumbled upon them again.

    The options

    Plagued by a sense of duty (“Surely I should wear these?”) and simultaneous dread at the prospect of losing them if they returned to their drawer, I tentatively began to research my options. Wear them on a necklace? Too clinky. On my keyring? Too precious. What about upcycling? Bewildered at the options, I floundered. Until a chance conversation led me to discover London-based jewellers Taylor and Hart. Yes, they told me confidently, remodelling a couple of rings is child’s play (I’m paraphrasing, obviously) and the results can be quite magical. The process, I learned, can be surprisingly fun too.

    The process

    First, I handed over two of the most precious things I own to a stranger (cue a mild panic attack as I watched the courier speed into the distance) along with another ring I owned, to gauge the correct sizing. Next, I was put in touch with designer Kate Earlam, who I exchanged a flurry of screen-grabs with, in a bid to settle upon the sort of thing I was after (in short: one ring fashioned from two, that I hoped to wear daily). A couple of weeks passed, during which time Kate came up with three ideas. The chosen design? A simple gold signet in a diamond shape, with my parents’ initials on, punctuated by a tiny diamond heart (a symbol of ‘light and life’ I was told, which felt fitting).

    Upcycl

    New beginnings

    Soon the two rings I’d kissed a nervous goodbye to were back in my possession as one – fashioned from the same materials, yet brighter and more vivid somehow. I wear the ring daily and whenever I happen to glance down, I’m reminded of the people who raised me and where I came from. And that while we all must change, grow and eventually fade from each other’s lives in the physical sense, we stay with each other too, our stories somehow permanently intertwined. I think there’s something quite brilliant about watching the old become new and seeing something that once lost its shine begin to twinkle again. Perhaps it’s the magpie in me, or maybe it’s the sentimental promise of new beginnings. But isn’t it lovely wondering what treasures like this might become next, and who they’ll be loved by? For now though, this one’s safe with me.

    For more information and pricing visit TaylorandHart.com

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