jewelry tip

There is something wonderfully sentimental about inheriting a piece of jewelry. But what if the treasured ring or watch in question doesn’t quite suit your tastes? Rather than keep it in drawer, you can consider giving the heirloom piece new life by putting it in the hands of an expert to reimagine or reconfigure. Recently, we sat down with Emmett Blevins of Emmett Blevins Jewelers in Huntsville, Alabama, who specializes in modernizing and transforming inherited jewelry, to discuss ways to transform some of the most commonly handed-down pieces into items you’ll enjoy wearing for years to come.

Rethink a ring. “The most common hand-me-down pieces are sentimental rings,” Blevins says, noting that in addition to rings from a mother, grandmother, or grandfather, confirmation rings are also frequently passed down. Even if the style is outdated, an experienced jeweler can create something truly special out of single or multiple pieces by taking diamonds or gemstones from the pieces and combining them into a more modernized piece of jewelry designed according to the client’s style. According to Blevins, Art Deco-inspired rings are a great way to combine smaller gemstones and diamonds into an interesting piece.

Transform a tennis bracelet. Comprised of many small diamonds and gems linked together in a narrow chain, tennis bracelets had their heyday during the 1980s, then fell out of favor in the 90s. But don’t count these sparklers out. According to Blevins, tennis bracelets can be turned into beautiful inline earrings, inside-out hoop earrings, or even multiple halo rings with gemstones placed as a center stone. “When creating rings, by simply adding a favorite gemstone, you can make several rings for all the women in your family,” Blevins says. “This is a great way to share a family heirloom among many members, and they make the perfect modernized gift with sentimental value for teens or graduates.”

Take a watch forward in time. The timepieces women wear today are very different from the delicate, bracelet-style watches of yesteryear—and chances are, you’d have to invest in restoring a handed-down watch to working function. However, it is still possible to turn a sentimental timepiece into jewelry you love. “I have a lot of clients come in with their grandmother’s watches,” Blevins says. “These watches can be turned into a bracelet by removing the watch face and adding a large cabochon gemstone.” Blevins has also turned an old Rolex with a diamond band and bezel into a stunning conversation piece by swapping the watch face with a blue topaz.

Photography by Ashley Vaughn / White Rabbit Studios LLC. TSG Tip 321 from Emmett Blevins of Emmett Blevins Jewelers in Huntsville, Alabama. Emmett Blevins Jewelers is featured in The Scout Guide Huntsville.