Re-Imagining A Treasured Family Heirloom

“Working with  gemstones  from an inherited piece of jewelry for one’s engagement ring is an age-old tradition.” says Kate Earlam-Charnley, Design Director of Taylor & Hart, “We’ve seen it with royals throughout time and a few years ago, Prince Harry re-purposed two diamonds from his mother’s collection to create the trilogy ring with which he proposed to Meghan Markle.”

Combining the sentimental and emotional ties to family heirlooms with personal style is a perfect match for the ring that evokes romance and enduring love.  Earlam Charnley notes,  “we have recently seen a wave of popularity following the news of Ariana Grande’s engagement ring given to her by Dalton Gomez. Eagle-eyes fans believe that this new ring features a pearl from one her grandmother had made for her, the pearl having originally come from her grandfather’s tie pin. While it is unconfirmed that this is the exact same pearl, there’s no doubt that the center stone carries a special meaning to the Grande and she cherished it enough to incorporate it into her multi-carat moi-et-toi  (me and you) engagement ring.”

Taylor & Hart always appreciate the opportunity to incorporate personal and significant materials into a bespoke design.  “One of my customers looking to embark on such a design journey initially met with me to discuss engagement ring ideas and learned that we offer a fully custom design service. He had inherited a family heirloom that he thought might be perfect for his girlfriend but knew that the style needed updating to match her style.” says Earlam Charnley.

Original antique cluster ring

She describes the original antique ring as “having a wonderful presence with seven Old European cut diamonds in an opulent cluster design set in yellow gold,” and adds, ” My client knew that he wanted his girlfriend to be involved in the design process, but wanted to first propose with the heirloom in its traditional state. He and his new fiancée then came in for a custom engagement ring design consultation.”

The couple decided to honor the original cluster design while putting their own stamp and style on the ring. In the end, they decided to keep all of the original diamonds and add even more to the ring. They selected additional round brilliant diamonds to set in between the larger Old European diamonds, with smaller melee diamonds delicately set in a pavé band. Finally, they wanted to somehow incorporate a snowflake pattern into the design and gave  Earlam Charnley creative license to come up with something wholly original. Switching from yellow gold to platinum, she created a design that not only honored the original ring but featured an entirely custom snowflake-inspired basket.

Redesign of  Original ring with additional diamonds on the shank and in between the European cut diamonds, with added snowflake basket in platinum

Earlam Charnley explains, “Experiencing the bespoke design process together meant that the couple was able to create their dream design without any guesswork—an approach that we’re seeing more and more amongst our customers.”

Taylor & Hart recently worked with another customer who wanted to add their aspects of the bride-to-be’s individuality while still honoring the original Edwardian design. The ring originally belonged to his girlfriend’s grandmother and incorporated two old-European cut diamonds in a bypass setting. His design consultant Maria Lalana suggested the entire design remain vintage-inspired.  She re-designed the ring with a crown setting and milgrain which are l typical design elements of the ring’s early 20th-century era. The customer mentioned that his partner loved pink, which inspired the use of pink diamonds and 18K rose gold. Presented with four designs, he took elements of each design to create the ring that his partner felt was “the one.”

Original Edwardian by-pass ring.


Antique inspired version of a by-pass ring with the original diamonds and pink diamonds in the shank in 18K rose gold


Taylor & Hart has innumerable stories to tell about working with different gemstones and the original diamond doesn’t always wind up in the engagement ring.  Such was the case with a client that chose to create a replica of а heirloom ring with a new diamond and asked Taylor & Hart’s designers to set the original diamond into a pendant.

From left to right: original diamond which was taken out of the ring, a sketch of the new ring and new pendant in which original diamond was used, new engagement ring.

Whether you use the gemstones as the main stone or side stones or take apart an earring filled with melee or baguette diamonds and would like to see them reworked into the band of your engagement ring or eternity band, Taylor & Hart can create the magical piece that will fulfill the romance of blending your past with your present and future.