Having access to an heirloom engagement ring is a pretty fantastic way to get engaged. After all, diamonds can be expensive, and a piece that’s been passed down through your family has even more meaning than one that’s brand-new. But if the heirloom isn’t exactly your style, can you have it reset and turned into something you’ll love to wear every day? Our experts weigh in.
Before doing anything to an heirloom ring (other than having it cleaned and checked for loose stones), have a conversation with whoever is giving it to you. Find out what is so meaningful about the piece, if there are any back-stories you should know, and what they’re hoping you’ll do with it. The stone itself might be the important part, while some rings are made using metal from past family heirlooms that you won’t want to totally get rid of. Your grandma might be thrilled to let you do whatever you’d like with it, or she could have her heart set on seeing the same ring on your finger (and could see that as a condition of accepting the ring at all).
Once you’re fully informed, consider your options. If both the ring and the metal are important, but the design is up to you, work with a jeweler to create a style you love that includes all the elements of the original ring. You could add accent stones or choose a more modern setting to create something unique that still honors the tradition. Do you have free rein to do whatever you’d like with the piece? Swap out the type of metal, add details, or pare it down to a classic solitaire that flaunts the stone in question.
The tough situation is if you’re expected to wear the ring as-is. Set up a consultation with a jeweler to see if there are any options that could help bring the ring into modern times while still preserving the design. While the changes to the ring (beyond having it resized, which you should do no matter what so you don’t lose it!) may be few and far between, you could get creative with your wedding band to add some of your personality. Mix metals, design a band that fits snugly against the ring, or curate a stunning stack of rings that both shows off the heirloom and includes the contemporary styles you love.