You remember the box of old-timey jewelry your mom has had in her closet since you were a kid? At some point, she probably let you comb through it to see if you wanted any of the outdated pieces it contained, but you couldn’t see any way to wear them without facing almost certain ridicule from your closest friends. And it’s no wonder! The jewelry of your grandma’s generation has little to do with the trends of today. Except that’s not entirely true. Now that you’ve been buying your own pieces for awhile, it might be worth taking a peek in the antique jewelry box one again, this time with an open mind and a new idea; to make over your family’s heirlooms.
There’s a lot you can do with antique jewelry to make it modern, and you may find that some items have even come back into vogue and just need a little sprucing up. In addition, some styles are more or less timeless, and might not need much work at all. What you should look for are pieces that have a design that can be easily pinpointed to a particular style or era (Victorian, art deco, art nuveau, etc.), or jewelry that already contains stones. You may also want to choose nicer metals like gold or platinum, since silver will require more maintenance to keep issues like tarnish at bay (plus, more expensive metals just tend to look, well, more expensive).
So once you’ve selected a piece, the first thing you’ll want to do is get it cleaned and repaired. This will give you a better idea of the possibilities. Then, if it already has a stone that you’re not particularly fond of, look into replacing or upgrading it. You really can’t go wrong by making a piece of jewelry suit your tastes by swapping out a dated gemstone for a diamond (which goes with everything). And as a bonus, you already have the setting, so you’re just paying for the stone! As for pieces without stones, this is where you can get creative. Roses are an ongoing favorite, so if you find a sculpted flower amongst your antiques, consider studding the petals with a random assortment of diamond chips or nestle a larger stone in the center. And if your heirloom happens to be a pendant, you can easily have it mounted on a band and wear it as a ring instead for modern appeal.