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Everything You Want To Know About Upgrading Your Wedding Rings Blog

Oct 23, 2019

Everything You Want To Know About Upgrading Your Wedding Rings

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LISA

My 21 years as a custom ring designer helps me to answer the why, when, and how a couple upgrades their engagement and wedding rings.

Starting with Why: Is it Normal to Upgrade Rings?


Is it “normal” to ask about upgrading your wedding rings? Absolutely. There are at least 3 reasons why a couple would upgrade their engagement ring and wedding bands.

Some couples ask about upgrading rings while they are shopping for their original bridal set. If you’re wondering why a couple would buy “forever rings” that they are not planning to keep forever, the answer is simple: Finances. It is absolutely appropriate to buy “starter rings” that you can afford now--this is especially common with young couples saddled with student loans or who are planning a family. Looking to the future, a couple may buy “starter rings” with the intention of upgrading their rings down the road--often at the third, fifth or even tenth wedding anniversary.
 
engagement ring upgrade
Engagement ring upgrade, before (left) and after (right)

For others, an upgrade comes as a surprise to the couple themselves several years or decades into a marriage. When the rings that were exchanged at the start of your marriage no longer represent your style or taste today, it is normal to seek out a ring upgrade. If fashion were immobile, then a lot more fifty-somethings would be sporting permed hair and legwarmers! Maybe in the earlier part of your marriage, you were more of a funky Art Deco urban couple, but now you find yourselves living a more outdoor-oriented life that’s a better match for a Nature or Vintage design. As your tastes change over time, you want a ring that reflects who you are today.

Finally, a reason why couples upgrade wedding rings has to do with status and being “age appropriate”. Many folks are fortunate enough to see an increase in social and financial status as they mature. The options that were appropriate in our twenties or thirties fail to reflect who we have become in our forties, fifties, and beyond. A beautiful half-carat diamond engagement ring may be perfect for a young woman starting out in her career, but she might find that a larger stone is more appropriate as she takes on higher positions in her social and professional lives.

Of course, if you are considering upgrading your wedding rings, you may have found your “why” and once  you’ve started that inquiry, then you’ll be faced with two questions: When and how?

Whenever it Feels Right for You


The ‘when’ is simple:  whenever it feels right—and if you’re asking the question, then the answer may well be ‘right now!’ There’s no rule, and I’m proud to say I have upgraded my husband’s ring several times! Upgrading your rings is a popular way to celebrate a milestone anniversary, as it symbolizes the growth and blossoming of a successful marriage. Some couples exchange new and improved wedding rings when they renew their vows, harkening to the Old English rhyme “something old, something new,'' representing continuity and optimism in the next chapter of their married life.

How to Upgrade Your Engagement Ring 


Just as proposals are often a surprise, an upgraded engagement ring could be a perfect surprise anniversary gift. Some of our best upgrades have happened when a spouse brings their partner’s engagement ring to us for a simple cleaning or refinishing and asks us to redesign the piece in time for an anniversary.

Alternatively, the redesign itself can be the anniversary gift: After discussing upgrade ideas with us, a client can make a virtual or in-person anniversary appointment. We can start from the ground floor or have a concept sketch ready to go!
 
wedding ring upgrade
Wedding ring upgrade, before (left) and after (right)
 

Endless Redesign Possibilities


However you start the process of upgrading your rings, the best part is working with a designer who can successfully navigate through the limitless possibilities of your redesign. You could opt for a completely overhauled ring--new metal, new stones, new design--as a great way to start a new chapter, or even add new features to an existing ring--new rails, a liner, or accent stones--to show continuity with the past. I have to add a caveat: the new features that can be added to an existing ring may be limited, however, since a finished ring is often its best self as it was originally designed.

Our favorite ring upgrade is to repurpose elements from the original ring—precious metals, stones, and design features—and refashion them into something new. With most couples, certain elements of a ring are extremely sentimental. 

Let’s imagine your original wedding band features a beautiful and meaningful floral motif, then we can bring that into your new design. If, on the other hand, your original wedding band is covered with a scattering of inexplicably imbalanced diamonds, then we can simply leave that part of the design in the past where it belongs. 

When we repurpose elements, your upgraded ring is both sentimental and new.

The Center Stone 


As the most costly element of an engagement ring, the center stone often suffers the most under a modest budget. Sometimes the stone, cubic zirconia or moissanite, isn’t your ideal stone. Other times, the stone is beautiful but smaller than you would choose for a new ring. If you decide to upgrade an engagement ring, the question becomes what to do with the original center stone.

If you prefer to keep the stone on your finger, you might pair it with another stone of the same size to act as side stones to a new, higher-carat center stone. Another attractive option is to add a halo around a modest center stone to make it appear larger. Of course, you can simply reuse your center stone in an upgraded ring mounting.

For the greatest freedom of design--and if you are replacing your center stone--by far the most meaningful use of your existing center stone is to have it set in a new pendant. A client favorite is a simple four-prong basket in the metal of their partner’s choice and gifting the pendant while the redesign is underway. (We’ve even known couples to present the pendant to one of their children.) Wearing your original center stone as a pendant keeps this symbolic keystone of your love and commitment close to your heart.

Your Ring Upgrade Awaits... Are You Ready?


If you are asking yourself if you should upgrade your wedding rings, then it may be time to explore the options available to you. An upgraded engagement or wedding ring is the perfect way to symbolize the ongoing strength of your commitment. Whether you have a concrete redesign in mind, or have no idea where to start, our design consultants will guide you through the decision-making process to be sure you land on the upgraded ring of your dreams. After all, you’re the best version of yourself today—shouldn’t you be able to say the same about your wedding rings?

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