Jewelry Diets Make Holidays Happy


Holidays bring joyful celebrations with family and friends. Thoughtful gifts like jewelry express special meaning, but can be pricey.

Statista, an online statistics portal for over 80,000 topics, resourcing over 18,000 sources, forecasts holiday spending to come close to 700 billion (680.4 billion) dollars for 2017. (Click here for the report)

Break your jewelry diet by following smart shopping tips to free up cash to enjoy more holiday fun AND still give (to others-or yourself!) jewelry gifts.

Beautiful and Affordable Jewelry Is Closer Than You Think

Affordable jewelry gifts may be as close as the drawers of your jewelry box with treasures waiting to be resurrected.

How many chains, bracelets and orphaned earrings are forgotten and abandoned because of damaged or missing parts?

It’s easy to dismiss them as jewelry fodder, but reconsider these hidden treasures by investing in cost effective repairs or alterations to revive them.

Simple Repairs Under $50

The average jewelry purchase is under $500, but for the sake of holiday spending relief, we’ll focus on the lowest cost with repair tips that begin as low as $50.

Common reasons jewelry is banished to jewelry box graveyards, are due to damages, missing a parts, or improper fit.

Most of these issues can be remedied easily working with a skilled jeweler.


For rings that don’t fit, sizing is fairly easy and inexpensive. Sizing up or down one size should cost no more than $50 for gold or silver.

platinum estate diamond engagement ring

Like new rings, estate rings can be sized, like this 1940’s platinum estate ring by California Girl Jewelry.


Sometimes, the backside, or shank of a ring will break, but can be easily soldered, polished and be good as new.

Because rings are exposed to frequent and exposed wear, they require more attention for repair and maintenance.

Prongs hold stones in place, but wear down over time, causing stones to become loose, or even lost.

They can be rebuilt, or re-tipped, and stones re-set for a fraction of the cost of a new ring.

Missing stones can be replaced, photo Raybar Fine Jewelry, Virginia Beach, VA


Chipped and fractured stones can be polished and re-cut by a lapidary, who specializes in cutting and polishing gemstones. (prices will vary depending on the damage and the type of stone.)



This ring’s center stone had large chips on its edges, but looked new once repolished by removing the chips and scratches.- photo courtesy Raybar Fine Jewelry



Believe it or not-yellow gold tarnishes, as does sterling silver. Jewelers have professional grade polishing machines and materials that clean and polish precious metals to their original shine, and it should cost no more than $20.

Gold and silver jewelry will oxidize, or tarnish. (the ring pictured on the left is gold, but brassy looking before polishing.) Cleaning and polishing will clean off tarnish.

Photos courtesy of Raybar Fine Jewelry, Virginia Beach, VA


White gold is not a pure white metal, but a combination of yellow gold with white alloy metals, and rhodium plating. (Rhodium is a shiny metal in the platinum family used as a plating on silver color jewelry to make it smooth and shine.)  Eventually, the rhodium wears away, leaving the white gold looking yellowish and dull. Rhodium plating services are offered by most full service jewelers for under $50, and return the high polish to white gold jewelry.

On the left, the rhodium plating on the white gold ring set has worn through, revealing a yellow, dull finish. On the right is the same set after rhodium plating, returning its high polish; photo, Raybar Fine Jewelry, Virginia Beach, VA.



Earrings seem to suffer large casualties because they’re small, and easier to lose.

Don’t discard them, because there are creative and cost friendly fixes to revive their wear.

diamond stud earrings

Making a new mate for an earring costs a lot less than a new pair! Photo, Raybar Fine Jewelry


For single, orphaned earrings, jewelers can replicate a mate, as in a diamond stud set. Duplicating a mate for a classic design is easier. The cost to match earrings with more intricate designs and valuable stones will cost more, of course, but a lot less than an entire new pair.


If there’s no interest in duplicating its mate, consider converting the earring into a pendant or charm for a bracelet.


Lost earring backs are a major reason why earring become forgotten, and most jewelers carry replacement earring backs. Costs will vary depending on the weight and type of earring back, but one typical friction back should be within our $50 jewelry diet budget.

Antique and vintage earrings can be converted from their clip style findings to post or lever back earrings. Vintage inspired earrings by Hugo Kohl, $135


Other potential redesign ideas for lone earrings is to include it in a new design. For instance, when resetting stones, use the diamond from a single stud earring, pair it with a match to make a 3-stone ring.

Vintage and estate clip earrings can be converted to pierced earrings or dangle style earrings.

If the earring is small enough, it can be worn in a second piercing on the ear.


Chains, Bracelets, and Necklaces

Broken links and clasps of bracelets, chains and necklaces can be soldered or reconnected, and clasps can be replaced.

Pendants without chains can be converted into charms for bracelets.

Using what was a pendant as a charm is another way to create a gift from a jewelry diet budget, photo, Jewelry Navigator


Broken pearl necklaces and bracelets may seem hopeless, but once restrung, can be worn and enjoyed again.

Once a broken strand of pearls or bracelet is restrung, they are ready to wear again, photo,



Watches are typically abandoned if not running, but can be revived as useful time pieces, often with the change of a battery or new band.

Mechanical wrist and pocket watches require expertise to repair, but are worth the cost for sentimental value. Watch overhauls start at $75.


If wearing a watch isn’t on your style agenda, convert vintage or retro watches into bracelets or lockets.


Budget restrictions don’t have to spoil the holiday fun of giving or receiving jewelry as gift.

Working with a jeweler to refurbish and remake jewelry is a smart way to shop for special holiday gifts.


What treasures lie in your jewelry box that could save you hundreds of dollars?

Can you think of a few to revive as gifts using these jewelry diet ideas? Then, it’s time to get busy-fast!

Holidays are the busiest time for jewelers-take your ideas to your jeweler, and get started on renewing jewelry for gifts or new jewelry for yourself!

Have fun!


For more information on what to do with broken jewelry, see Plante Jeweler’s blog post, on the same topic.


If you don’t have a family or custom jeweler, see Calla Gold’s post on how to choose a jeweler.






Brenna Pakes

I share a world of unique jewelry created by independent jewelers and designers with shoppers and readers.

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