Gold: Turning Your Old Jewelry Into New Custom Designs

Everything Old Is New Again

In February 2010, Aldemar Barrera noticed that business was starting to drop. He was selling fewer engagement rings, but it took a couple months for the owner of JB Jewelers in Plano, Texas, to realize that sales were down 40 percent.

To reverse the alarming trend, Barrera decided to launch “Create New Memories,” a program that helps customers repurpose old ­jewelry into new designs.

The program has helped Barrera augment sales by 20 percent, strengthen bonds with existing clients, and obtain new ones. For example, one woman came into the store with a pendant and loose colored stone to sell as scrap. After listening to her story—the pendant was a present from her son and the stone, a tanzanite, was a gift from her husband—Barrera persuaded her they could form the basis for an entirely new design. “The pieces had sentimental value,” he explains.

A digital rendering in CAD offers a look at what could be a client’s new piece of jewelry

Using Rhinoceros CAD software, Barrera created a digital rendering of a design the woman could wear as a pendant or a ring. After she approved it, he finished the piece in three days—just in time for her anniversary. 

So far, 15 customers—10 of them new—have tapped Barrera to create custom designs with their old jewelry. He estimates the program increased his 2010 sales by $35,000 to ­$40,000. And while Barrera hasn’t set an end date for the program, he may not need to. Gold prices aren’t likely to come down anytime soon.

Petal Pusher

An 18k gold Secret Garden bracelet with 50 grams of gold, 7.21 cts. t.w. diamonds, and 22 cts. t.w. white quartz; $12,500; FR Hueb, São Paulo; 55-11-3168-5871;


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