Why Making Old Jewellery New Again Has Never Been More Stylish

Why Making Old Jewellery New Again Has Never Been More Stylish

By Alison McGill

The internet has so many thoughts about model Emily Ratajkowski’s divorce rings. Following her divorce in late 2022 from Sebastian Bear-McClard, Ratajkowski’s dazzling Toi et Moi engagement ring which paired a hefty princess cut diamond with a juicy, elongated pear cut was obviously out of rotation, but as she shared with Vogue, she wanted to bring that piece back to life in a new and different way. She worked with jeweller Alison Chemla, creative director of fine jewellery brand Alison Lou, to give her engagement ring a beautiful new life. The diamonds were separated, and two new stunning rings were created, each starring a single diamond from her original engagement ring.

“The rings represent my own personal evolution,” Ratajkowski told Vogue. “It was a fun project to work on together amidst a hugely transitional period in my life. Somehow, these rings feel like a reminder that I can make myself happy in ways I never imagined.”

Why Making Old Jewellery New Again Has Never Been More Stylish - Emily Ratajkowski
ABOVE (l-r): Emily Ratajkowski’s original wedding ring and her divorce rings (Photos: instagram/emrata)

For many of us, jewellery is an intimate and important part of our personal narrative. Ratajkowski has brought this idea and conversation to the forefront; she has chosen not to forget a pivotal moment in her life that didn’t have a happily-ever-after, but instead reframe the narrative and celebrate a significant time that once was with her divorce rings. This is something Virginie Roy, founder of Montreal-based Proud Diamond, has been seeing for many years, and she loves the fact Ratajkowski has made light of it in such a bold and public way with her divorce rings.

“Redesigning jewellery from a past relationship allows individuals to reclaim their personal story,” Roy shared with me during a recent visit to Toronto. “It’s a symbolic act of taking control. Of moving past negative emotions by transforming them into something new and moving forward with a positive mindset.”

In her experience, Roy shares the clients she has worked with to refashion breakup jewellery find a great sense of joy and liberation in the process. “I had one client transform a 1.5-carat princess-cut diamond from an engagement ring into a striking 18K gold pendant necklace to symbolize continuity and unity,” Roy explains. “The circular motif, often associated with wholeness and perfection, added a layer of depth to the piece, making it not just a stylish statement piece but a personal emblem of renewal and infinite potential.”

From a sustainable standpoint, Roy also loves the idea of bringing new life to old pieces. “From an environmental perspective, it’s a beautiful idea because it reduces the demand for new mining and the associated impact on the environment.”

On the subject of transforming old baubles into something new, Roy says imbuing heirloom jewelry with a fresh look and feel is hugely popular as jewellery lovers are looking to add precious pieces with hyper-personal meaning into their daily mix. “In revitalizing heirlooms, our approach is deeply rooted in collaboration and creating; ensuring the essence of each original piece is preserved with infusing it with new life that reflects a client’s personal style,” Roy says.

Why Making Old Jewellery New Again Has Never Been More Stylish - 2
ABOVE (l-r): A vintage stone and setting mixed with lab grown diamonds is a beautiful way to refashion heirloom pieces. / This necklace created by Proud Diamond refashions a princess cut diamond ring into a striking modern gold statement necklace. (Photos: Proud Diamond)

A redesign process can take anywhere from three to five weeks and is a collaboration between designer and jewellery owner to create the perfect modern piece. One of the things Roy says she loves most about designing reinvention pieces is the opportunity to marry old gems with modern, lab grown diamonds gemstones. Proud Diamond are a market leader in lab grown stones which Roy explains are created in a closed chamber under high pressure and high temperature, mimicking the natural formation process within the earth. This is what makes them a smart choice from a sustainable and ethical perspective.

“Lab-grown diamonds, are chemically, physically, and visually identical to mined diamonds,” Roy details. “Integrating lab-grown diamonds with vintage gems and pieces offers a unique blend of history and modernity and opens new possibilities for innovation and customization in jewellery design that may not be feasible or as accessible with mined diamonds, due to cost. They empower designers to have more freedom for creativity and wearers to make bold, statement pieces, at a lower cost, that not only tell a story but also reflect the wearer’s values.”

If you have some hidden gems in your jewellery box, be it breakup pieces or vintage family treasures, this is your sign to spark your own joy by transforming that something old into something fresh, beautiful and uniquely yours.

Tags: divorce jewellery, jewellery, top story, topstory

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