How One Designer Reworked a Client's Vintage Diamond Ring

When designer Elise Thompson, founder of New York City–based fine jewelry brand Mejia Jewelry, saw the ring her client brought in to have her dismantle—and use the diamonds in an entirely new, custom-made wedding ring—she paused. “I thought the vintage ring was pretty awesome,” Thompson recalls. “And I was like, ‘Are you sure you want to take this apart?’”

Bombe ring
The original bombe ring

The pair’s collaboration on the creation of a completely new piece began with Thompson sketching out three different designs for stacking-type rings. Her client ultimately chose an eternity ring (a band-style ring encircled in diamonds) composed of connected round bezels (bezels are seamless metal borders, usually bordering a gemstone). 

Thompson first carved the ring in hard wax—harnessing an ancient jewelry-making process called lost wax casting—and as she began filing the tiny circular bezels. “one of the bezels became an octagon shape, and I was like ‘Ooh, I kind of like this better.’ I texted my client a photo of the shape with a note saying, ‘What do you think?’ She loved it and we went with the octagons.”

remaking a ring
Thompson inventoried the original ring's diamonds (left) then created an all-new design in hard wax (right)
Elise Thompson Mejia Jewelry
Jewelry designer Elise Thompson, founder of Mejia Jewelry, working at the bench

The designer was initially challenged by the different-size diamonds she had to work with, but ultimately measured each diamond and organized them on double-sided tape from smallest to largest—then used only the largest stones in the final style. “When people redesign, they think it’s cheaper, but they should know there’s a lot of labor to it,” she notes with a laugh. But Thompson, a mother of two who founded her artisanal jewelry brand 16 years ago, says she finds working on custom pieces gratifying and adds, “I love involving my clients in the process.”

Modern wedding ring with diamonds
The final design: A modern, stack-able wedding ring with hexagonal bezels

The final 14k yellow gold ring boasts a trendy matte satin finish on the outside but is glossy on the inside, for smooth on-and-offs. Thompson reports that the bride, who got hitched to her honey in September, loves the ring, especially because she played a role in its creation. The designer adds, “She was excited about the process, and about our collaboration of ideas.” 

All photos courtesy Mejia Jewelry