My mother has been know to quote her mother, saying, "Always buy your mother nice jewelry, because it will be yours one day." This is the truth of heirloom jewelry. Precious metals, with proper care and upkeep, can last for generations. The Ketterman's and their staff are honored every day with repairs and maintenance to beloved family pieces. There is a benefit to investing in gold, silver or platinum jewelry - the metals are "precious" because they hold the qualities that allow them to last for generations.
Although the potential for longevity exists in the integrity of precious metal jewelry, this is not always true for the style. Similar to clothing fashion, what was popular in the 1980s is not necessarily worn today. Ketterman's sees this on a daily basis with requests for remounting to modernize beloved pieces.
Use the stones from a family ring to make a pendant you can wear every day.
Remounting gives you virtually limitless possibilities based on the stones you have. Ketterman's once made a ring with horses, dolphins and the country of Kazakhstan carved into it; your imagination is your only limitation. Depending on your time frame and your budget, Ketterman's can pull together existing parts to build your ideal jewelry piece, design a CAD to accommodate your stones or carve a wax and have it cast for a truly one-of-a-kind hand made design. The design process can take a bit more time, but will give you a piece that you can truly wear and enjoy featuring the gemstones from past generations.
Currently, there is a major trending towards white gold, where much of the market, about 20 years ago, was yellow gold. When it comes to switching your jewelry wardrobe from yellow to white, there are two basic options: remount or rhodium plate. If you truly enjoy the design of your piece, but would like it more on trend, rhodium plating is often a good option. This is an electroplating process that gives gold a thin outer layer of rhodium, a truly white metal from the platinum family. Most white gold jewelry items are rhodium plated to give them the bright white look of white gold, when in fact "white gold" has more of a yellow (gold) tint. This is a less expensive, faster "fix" (usually it takes less than a week), but there is more maintenance involved, as the yellow gold shows through more readily than white gold.
This ring had prongs rebuilt in white gold
and was rhodium plated to make it more modern
Rhodium plating is a great option for yellow gold earrings and pendants, but the wear sustained by yellow gold bracelets and rings can often be too much for rhodium plating to be effectively maintained. To keep white gold looking new typically requires re-rhodium plating about every one to two years depending on the level of wear, while yellow gold may require re-plating about every three to six months with daily wear. Extra steps can be taken to lengthen the lifespan of the rhodium. For rings, the top can be preserved and the shank (the part that goes around the underside of the finger) can be changed to white gold for rhodium plating to be more effective.
Like most things in life, quality items with proper maintenance and upkeep can last numerous lifetimes. Ketterman's looks forward to hearing your family stories and preserving the memories from family heirlooms through caring for your jewelry. And remember what Mama said...