Create A Custom Memorial Ring
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Create A Custom Memorial Ring

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How to create commemorative memorial jewelry for a  family member with new or upcycled diamonds and gemstones…


Yesterday I received a DM from an Instagram follower stating, “my grandmother passed away and I’d like to make a memorial ring in her honor.”


Over more than a decade of making custom jewelry, I’ve designed and created hundreds of rings woven with tender stories of love, of family, and of family passed. I’ve designed memorial rings for grandparents who’ve passed away, commemorative jewelry for family members who are still with us, and memorial jewelry for pets who were cherished members of the family. Naturally my answer to an inquiry like this is “Come on in (or, meet us over Zoom), we can do this.” 


Repurpose an Old Ring to Make Memorial Jewelry

When someone has passed, what do you do with their jewelry? If you’re in my studio, you either rock it as-is (if you love it), or we can remove the stones and build new jewelry you love using your grandparents or parents stones. The mission? Let those beautiful jewels see the light of day and honor your family member’s story. In moments when life serves you a particularly sour lemon, I hope you find yourself looking down at your jewelry and being reminded of the strength, or joy, or lessons learned from your loved one to keep your feet on the ground and get you through the day. 


I’m struck by how many people have no idea that it’s an option to remodel your family’s jewelry into something new. Yes – there are still artisans and designers, like me and my team, who make jewelry! We put our talents to work reusing heirloom diamonds and gemstones like the ring we made for our client Em, below. 

The Nenow is an oval diamond statement ring designed with heriloom diamonds and morganite sourced by Abby Sparks Jewelry.

The Nenow – Ornate Oval Diamond Statement Ring


Em shared my view that jewels are meant to be worn, not sit in a jewelry box collecting dust. One ring, among the many jewels she inherited from her grandmother, stood out among the rest. Her grandparents met in Germany during the war, and her grandfather was incredibly frugal. This special ring was the nicest piece of diamond jewelry he ever bought for her grandmother, and she wore it all the time. Em could remember it always perched on her grandmother’s finger, so it was important to her that we drew inspiration from the original ring design to help recall her memories of her grandmother when she looked down at her new ring. Em remembers Grandma Nenow as a caretaker who was always dressed up. Even when she was very sick toward the end of her life, she put on a dress and makeup and got ready to see her family. We created the Nenow with soft pink hues to celebrate Grandma Nenow’s feminine caretaker archetype, and dressed it up to the nines. This ring is set in 14k yellow gold and features a 1.7 carat oval center diamond, sourced new by ASJ, to compliment Grandma Nenow’s swirls of diamond melee.

The Christina, a custom made floral inspired engagement ring by Abby Sparks Jewelry,

The Christina – Diamond Cluster Bouquet Ring


C +B were getting married, and C wanted to reuse rings from her grandmother to make her engagement ring because, “every single thing (C) wears has meaning.” She wanted her new engagement ring to carry the history of her Serbian heritage, and reusing her grandmother’s diamonds checked all of her story and meaning boxes. The young couple would be getting married in an Orthodox Serbian Church because everytime C thought of her roots and her family she felt warm and happy. A shared love of nature tied C to her grandmother, who loved butterflies and flowers. We upcycled her old diamonds to create a nature inspired engagement ring and memorialized her grandmother’s joy and love of the natural world. 


Make A Custom Memorial Ring From Scratch

I often joke with my clients that having too many diamonds inherited from your family is a great problem to have, but what if you don’t have heirloom jewelry and you want to create a memorial ring? First, we’ll meet to discuss design inspiration, and start anew. During your meeting, we might discover that the inspiration for your ring is a loved one’s joie de vivre, notable physical attributes, or their favorite colors that we can bring to life in jewelry using colorful gems or specific design elements. 


This year I met with our client J, to create two memorial rings for her loves, Ava and Mila. The ones we cherish do not always walk on two legs!

The custom made pet memorial ring by Abby Sparks Jewelry, The Mila.

The Mila – Pear Cut Memorial Diamond Ring


Mila came into J’s life when they were abroad living in Japan. She saw her in a pet store and she was just so tiny, and so sad. Mila wanted a home and family, but in Japan, small breeds are usually in higher demand. They went into the pet store and instantly fell in love with sweet Mila. After deliberation, they brought her home and had a new member of the family. Sweet Mila passed two years ago, and J’s heart was broken. She came to us wanting to create a commemorative memorial ring using a memorial diamond J had made with an outside vendor, with Mila’s ashes. This cluster style ring was created to celebrate Mila’s life and the love they taught each other. 


The Ava, a custom made marquise morganite and diamond ring by Abby Sparks Jewelry.

The Ava – Marquise Morganite Right Hand Ring



We created The Ava to memorialize J’s strong willed and elegant Doberman who stood by her side and filled her life with immeasurable amounts of love. If you’ve had a special relationship with a pup, you understand. 

“She was a white doberman with pale blue eyes and the pinkest little nose.  (They) couldn’t go anywhere without someone stopping (them) to ask about her.  She was soft, beautiful, and feminine.  BUT on top of that she was so wildly fierce. So much attitude and sass while simultaneously being so very obedient.  She was an avid pigeon hunter on all (family) trips to big cities, she even caught one in Paris – thankfully she dropped it immediately in response to (a) gasp.  Ava chased bunnies and called all the shots with (their) other dogs. She would always cross her front legs while lying down and exuded so much confidence.”

We used a rare marquise cut morganite to match her pink nose and pointed feminine personality. The center stone was flanked by trillion cut diamonds tucked in symmetrical clusters on each side. A sophisticated statement, but with soft tones to reflect her dual, sweet nature.


Learn more about how Abby Sparks Jewelry approaches designing heirloom jewelry or schedule a call to meet and chat about ideas, hopes and dreams!