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Changing your engagement ring (without changing husbands)

24 Aug 2020 | Bridal & engagement rings

A beautiful woman wearing an emerald engagement ring and green gemstone earrings
Beautiful woman wearing an emerald engagement ring and wearing green gemstone earrings

By Natalie Barney
Jewellery Designer; Owner Director of Natalie Barney Jewellery Design; FGAA

Have you ever secretly thought about redesigning or upgrading your engagement ring? You’re not the only one. Many women feel like they’ve outgrown their ring and long for one that better reflects their individualism and style.

An engagement ring is one of the most sentimental pieces of jewellery one can own. Some ladies feel guilty for regretting their choice or wanting a change. But it is only natural for your tastes to change and mature over the years.

As a jeweller, gemmologist and self-confessed jewellery addict, I actually have a few ‘engagement rings’ of my own. You see, as my passion for jewellery, style and circumstances have evolved over the years, so too has my jewellery.

Each ring is very special and meaningful to me and I feel they really reflect my journey. Some of them feature gemstones that have been gifted to me. Others have been remodelled from sentimental pieces, combining their meaning and magic.

If a change or an upgrade is what you’ve been longing for, let me help you with your decision by exploring the three main reasons why my customers have taken the plunge…

1. A change of heart (or taste)

Diamonds have been heavily marketed as the ultimate choice for an engagement ring. Many can feel pressured to purchase the best or biggest diamond they can afford in order for their ring to be worthy or loved.

Some of my customers who have approached me for a remodel absolutely adored their diamond ring when they got engaged. It may have been the first piece of ‘serious’ jewellery they owned. But deep in their heart of hearts, they always wanted to rock a magnificent coloured gemstone.

Because unlike diamonds (which are stunning, but neither rare nor unique), coloured gemstones —

  • are incredible evocative and rich in history, symbolism and meaning
  • can influence mood and emotion
  • are bold and sophisticated
  • reflect one’s individualism, creativity and personal style
  • catch the eye and spark conversation for years to come.

Some of my customers have retained their original ring and acquired a new one more reflective of their current tastes. Like me, they might alternate between wearing the two.

Others have chosen to remodel their diamond rings and incorporate their favourite coloured gemstones by —

  • retaining a central diamond and surrounding/flanking it with coloured gemstones or
  • acquiring a larger coloured gemstone and surrounding/flanking with the original diamonds

Any remaining stones can be used to create another piece to complement their new ring, like a pair of matching earrings or a pendant.

A vintage emerald engagement ring surrounded by diamonds

Some of my engagement rings — each one as sentimental and meaningful as the other.

1. A change of heart (or taste)

Diamonds have been heavily marketed as the ultimate choice for an engagement ring. Many can feel pressured to purchase the best or biggest diamond they can afford in order for their ring to be worthy or loved.

Some of my customers who have approached me for a remodel absolutely adored their diamond ring when they got engaged. It may have been the first piece of ‘serious’ jewellery they owned. But deep in their heart of hearts, they always wanted to rock a magnificent coloured gemstone.

Because unlike diamonds (which are stunning, but neither rare nor unique), coloured gemstones —

  • are incredible evocative and rich in history, symbolism and meaning
  • can influence mood and emotion
  • are bold and sophisticated
  • reflect one’s individualism, creativity and personal style
  • catch the eye and spark conversation for years to come.

Some of my customers have retained their original ring and acquired a new one more reflective of their current tastes. Like me, they might alternate between wearing the two.

Others have chosen to remodel their diamond rings and incorporate their favourite coloured gemstones by —

  • retaining a central diamond and surrounding/flanking it with coloured gemstones or
  • acquiring a larger coloured gemstone and surrounding/flanking with the original diamonds

Any remaining stones can be used to create another piece to complement their new ring, like a pair of matching earrings or a pendant.

Some of my customers absolutely adored their diamond ring when they got engaged. But deep in their heart of hearts, they always wanted to rock a magnificent coloured gemstone.

Green tsavorite garnet engagement ring with diamonds in white gold

Victoria Beckham has an impressive collection of engagement rings. Starting with a diamond ring, the fashion designer has added some magnificent coloured gemstone rings to her collection over the years. All reflecting her evolving style, power and confidence.

Green tsavorite garnet engagement ring with diamonds in white gold

One of my personal ‘upgrades’ featuring one of my favourite gemstones — a large, oval pink tourmaline. I used some of the remaining diamonds from the previous ring in a pendant.

2. A change in circumstances

Some of my customers married when they had love in their hearts, but little in the bank. They either settled for a modest ring or decided to wait until they could afford the ring they really wanted.

So when the time came, they either remodelled their original ring, adding some larger, more exciting stones, or went for a complete upgrade.

When I got engaged, I was delighted by the small ruby and diamond ring in yellow gold that my husband and I chose. But I had always longed for more ‘bling’. So eventually I repurposed the smaller, princess cut diamonds from my eternity ring into a pair of earrings and sourced a large pink tourmaline stone to create one of my favourite engagement rings.

When the time came, they either remodelled their original ring, adding some larger, more exciting stones, or went for a complete upgrade.

Emerald Cut Red Garnet Ring handmade in white gold by Natalie Barney
This gorgeous mandarin garnet was a gift from my husband to celebrate the birth of our son and my graduation as a gemmologist. 

3. Breathing new life into an old or damaged ring

A family heirloom ring is an especially sentimental piece of jewellery. But while the original owner may have adored and suited the ring, the same might not be true for the current owner. In addition, some of the stones might have suffered damage or the setting may have become fragile.

Remodelling a vintage ring can breathe new life and meaning into it by —

  • improving on size, proportion and comfort
  • replacing damaged stones
  • offering greater durability and security
  • integrating the current owner into the history of the ring.

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While the original owner may have adored and suited the ring, the same might not be true for the current owner.
Cushion cut red spinel milgrain diamond halo ring handmade in white gold by Natalie Barney worn as an engagement ring.
A vintage ring can be damaged, fragile or simply not your style.

Rock the ring you love while treasuring the relationship you have

Buying jewellery is so often an emotional purchase that reflects sentimental milestones in life. And an engagement ring can be the most sentimental of all.

In my case, I see the changes I’ve made to my precious rings as ‘Natalie in progress’. And I am far more sentimental about my husband (who’s very happy that I haven’t had the urge to remodel or upgrade him!).

So my advice is, don’t be afraid of change or feel guilty about wanting to remodel or upgrade your engagement ring. Let it evolve and grow with your tastes, your life and your relationship!

If you feel ready to make a change, Natalie Barney Jewellery Design can help you realise the ring of your dreams. Simply complete an enquiry form or send an email to info@nataliebarney.com and it will be our absolute pleasure to work with you.

Tsavorite (green garnet) engagement ring in white gold with diamonds
A magnificent ring for lovers of sapphire.