Refreshing Old Jewellery

Seeing the Potential in Tired-looking Gems

There is often a fine line between classic  and dated gemstone jewellery, with designs that used to be appealing suddenly looking tired or old-fashioned. Do you have some strings of gemstones that you’ve inherited or have been sitting for year in the back of your wardrobe? Consider refreshing old jewellery by doing something new with them.

We wanted to share some ideas we’ve come up with for customers on what you could do with strings of gemstones you don’t want to wear anymore.  We’ve found that many women have pearls, turquoise, onyx and amber in particular that they’ve bought and no longer wear, or have had passed to them by their mother or other family members.Bespoke-Red-White-Necklace-Zayah-750px

One Starting Point: Funereal black pearls

Our customer’s husband does a lot of travel and often brought back a variety of jewellery specific to the region he had been to (as we always want our men to do!)


On one trip he picked up a number of black pearls. Since this customer knows us well, she asked us what could be done with a double strand of black pearls, something she found very sober  and so never wore.

An Opportunity to Design Your Own

She had one idea which was to create a torsade mixing the black with some white pearls. When we were doing our research, we discovered that apparently, this twisted style of necklace dates back to the ancient Egyptians!

So for this, we looked for slightly smaller white pearls within the budget set by the customer to create this piece. She then gave us carte blanche to work the rest of the pearls.

The first time we had a conversation on the pearls, we listened intently to the things that mattered to her. She wasn’t clear about what jewellery could be made with the pearls, and felt constrained by the fact that she doesn’t wear earrings. But in the conversation, we picked up a few other points.

Creating Many From One

She liked the idea of distinctive pendants, not the filigree type but bolder ones, she also liked the idea of a bracelet to match a necklace. She loves silver. She also mentioned in passing that she didn’t wear some of her jewellery because of the weight around her neck.

From this, we showed her Zayah’s Nyx Pendant, using her response to gauge her likes and preferences in a more tangible way. She loved it immediately, so we created her pendant with design inspired by the shapes and forms of Nyx, using some of her own gemstones as the base.

We also created another necklace and bracelet with the other stones, but taking her needs into consideration, we avoided the sterling silver spirals beads she liked because of their weight, instead using a lighter style of sterling silver chain.