It’s not uncommon to want to upgrade your engagement ring or wedding ring later in life. As time passes, tastes and budgets can change, making an upgraded ring look more attractive. Although it’s normal to want to upgrade your ring, the thought of doing so can seem daunting. Some may not know how to bring up the idea to their spouse. Others may not want to lose the sentimental value of their ring or they may be unsure how upgrading a ring would even work. 

Whatever your reasons for wanting to upgrade your ring or your concerns about the process, we’re here to help. Below, we’re sharing a simple guide to upgrading your engagement ring. In this guide, we’ll go beyond just detailing how upgrading a ring works once you decide to do it. We’ll also cover all the important “before the upgrade” steps you should take, such as talking to your partner and figuring out how to retain sentimental value when upgrading. 

upgrading engagement ring

Why Upgrade Your Engagement Ring?

Upgrading your engagement ring can be done for a myriad of reasons. There’s no one right answer, as it’s personal and depends on you, but we’ve found a few common reasons in our 80 years of service. Motivations range from it being time for a change, to celebrating life events, to recognizing that the current ring doesn’t reflect who you are as a person anymore. Regardless of the motive, everyone deserves to have a ring that brings them joy. Here are the four most common occasions we see couples deciding it's time to upgrade.

Celebrating Anniversaries

Upgrading your engagement ring because of a milestone anniversary is one of the most popular reasons we see. For the fifth year of marriage, couples often opt to get a second wedding band to “jacket” the engagement ring. The second band can give the ring a more symmetrical look if they match or draw the eye to it if they don’t. At years 10 and 25 we frequently see stone upgrades and shape changes. Not all changes need to be drastic, though. Sometimes a simple refresh is all that’s needed to reflect the current state of your love and affection.

Hitting Milestones and Life Events

Getting married was just the start of your life together. Now you’re finding that starting a family, settling into careers, buying a house together, and experiencing all that life has to offer has been great. You can reflect that in upgrading your jewelry. We love to see the additions people make whether it’s the birthstones of their children added to a band, a new engraving to immortalize a special event, or just upsizing to say “We’ve made something great!” 

Updating Your Style

Sometimes that ring you swore was going to be a timeless reflection of yourself isn’t that. And that’s okay! As the years pass, our styles and preferences change. The metal we swore we would never wear becomes a staple in our wardrobe. Don't worry, we get it. We will make sure your updated ring is one you'll love for many years to come

Incorporating other pieces

As time passes you’ll come across jewelry you love. Whether it is through inheritance or purchasing it from your favorite jeweler, being able to incorporate it into your engagement ring is a great way to take your current ring to something that reflects you even better. But there’s no need to only use heirlooms or older pieces that may be lying around. With newer rings, we are able to take the gold and materials from the original ring and redesign it into a new piece you can wear as a right-hand ring or necklace.

engagement ring upgrade

Popular Ways to Upgrade Your Engagement Ring

Now that we’ve discussed why, what are the options for changing the ring? The sky is the limit when it comes to your upgrade. Just about everything can be changed about your ring including the metals, stones, settings, and engravings. Much like the first time the ring was picked out, we can customize your ring to make it the one of your dreams. 

Changing the Center Stone

One option for upgrading an engagement ring is to change the center stone. Over time, preferences and budgets can evolve, leading individuals to consider replacing their existing diamond or gemstone with a larger or more valuable one. This allows for a fresh, updated look while still maintaining the sentimental value of the original setting. When upgrading your center stone, consider factors like cut, color, clarity, and carat weight to ensure the desired outcome is achieved.

Altering the Setting

Another way to upgrade an engagement ring is to alter the setting. This involves changing the design or style of the setting while retaining the original center stone. This option is ideal for individuals who have an emotional attachment to the stone but are looking to give new life to the ring's appearance. Upgrading the setting can include changing the metal type, adjusting prong or bezel settings, or even opting for a more intricate design. This approach allows for a blend of sentimentality and novelty.

Creating a Ring Stack

For those who wish to maintain their original engagement ring's sentimentality while still adding something new, creating a ring stack is a fantastic choice. This involves adding additional bands or rings alongside the engagement ring. These can be complementary wedding bands, anniversary bands, or even gemstone bands that add color and vibrancy to the existing ring. Ring stacking offers a customizable approach that lets the wearer express their personal style while cherishing the original piece.

Designing a Custom Piece

For a truly unique upgrade, designing a custom engagement ring is an appealing option. This allows for complete personalization, from selecting the gemstones and metals to designing intricate details that hold special meaning. A custom upgrade can involve incorporating elements from the original ring into the new design, ensuring a meaningful connection between the past and the present. 

Updating your ring offers endless options to make it a unique symbol of your love and commitment. Your choices are like a fingerprint, reflecting your personal style, treasured memories, and the beautiful journey of love you're on. Swapping out the center diamond/stone, playing with different settings, trying out a chic stack of rings, or going all-in with a custom design allows you to incorporate the journey you’ve been on. Let's make that symbol of commitment even more special.

upgrade engagement ring

How to Upgrade Your Engagement Ring

Communicate With Your Partner 

If you think you want to upgrade your engagement ring or wedding band, the very first thing you should do is talk to your partner. While some spouses will be perfectly content with the idea of a ring upgrade, others may feel sensitive about it for one reason or another. For example, maybe they have a sentimental attachment to the original ring because they spent a long time picking it out for you. Whether or not you think your partner will be sensitive about the idea of an upgrade, you should discuss it with them. Engagement rings and wedding bands are a representation of your relationship and bond as a couple. So, making sure your other half is fully on board with the upgrade process before moving forward is the considerate thing to do. 

When you bring up this topic with your partner, we suggest that you reassure your partner that you still love your original ring, but that you’re just ready for a change. It’s also a good idea to be completely sure of why you want to change your ring now so that you can effectively communicate that to your spouse. If your partner is sensitive to any part of the upgrade idea, make sure you listen to their thoughts and be willing to make compromises when necessary. 

Contemplate Sentimental Value 

For many couples, preserving sentimental value is a big concern during the upgrade process. Whether that’s your concern, your partners’ concern, or a mutual concern, know that there are numerous ways you can infuse the sentimental value of your original ring into your new upgrade. 

The key here is to understand what’s at the heart of the sentimental value of your ring, then figure out how that can still be reflected in your new ring. For example, if the center diamond or side stones in your diamond engagement ring are family heirlooms, you can have them set in a new design. Or, if there’s some design element of your setting that has sentimental meaning to you, you can make sure it's still present in your new design. 

While you may need to get creative to keep the sentimental value of your ring intact, anything is possible with a little ingenuity and care. If you’re unsure how you can reflect a sentimental element of your ring in your upgrade,  our expert jewelry consultants can help. Since we can create custom bridal jewelry at our jewelry store, we’re able to provide a vast range of solutions to engagement ring upgrade problems. 

Take Time to Think About Your Style 

If you love the style of your engagement ring but just want to upgrade to a higher quality or higher carat weight center stone, you don’t need to do much pre-planning. You can simply get the best gemstone your upgrade budget allows, then have a jeweler set it in your original ring setting. But if you want to change your ring setting, you’ll need to spend some time carefully considering what you want from your new ring in terms of style. 

A good way to start thinking about what you want in a new ring is to hone in on what you no longer love about your current engagement ring. Do you wish your white gold ring were yellow gold or rose gold? Do you find that your solitaire ring lacks bling and glamor, or perhaps that your halo ring isn’t minimalistic enough for you now? Do you wish your round-cut diamond were another shape, or do you maybe want to swap a center diamond for a center gemstone? Is it your center stone that’s lacking or your setting? Or is it both? When you figure out what’s lacking in your old ring’s design, you can start looking for new stones and/or new ring settings that have the qualities your original ring lacked.

Have Your Ring Appraised By a Jeweler

When you first start looking into upgrading your ring, it’s good to have a general idea of what your current one is worth. This helps you decide on the next step, as you’re able to get a clear picture of what you’re working with when it comes to the stones and metal. Understanding your ring’s current value can also help you set your budget moving forward. If you’re replacing the stone or setting, those can be used towards the final upgrade price.

If you’re in northern Illinois, you can make an appraisal appointment at Frank Jewelers here. Alternatively, you can simply stop by our showroom during our business hours and ask about getting an appraisal. To learn more about our appraisal process, click here

Set Your Upgrade Budget 

Once your original ring has been appraised, it’s time to set your upgrade budget. If you’ll be selling all or part of your original ring, you can factor in its selling value when setting your new budget. 

The right budget for your upgrade will ultimately be very personal. There’s no right or wrong amount to spend, so think about what’s right for your goals and finances, then set a budget that you’re comfortable with. 

If your upgrade budget is on the smaller side, we recommend keeping your original center stone and only upgrading your setting. Center diamonds and gemstones tend to be by far the most expensive part of an engagement ring. By keeping your center stone the same and swapping out your setting, you can get a ring that feels brand new for a fraction of the cost of a new ring. 

Consult a Jeweler

Frank Jewelers isn’t just a place to buy beautiful, pre-designed jewelry. While we do have popular styles available from some of the world’s hottest brands, we also have an amazing team who can create a one-of-a-kind piece that you’ll love for decades to come. 

The first step is a consultation, where we sketch out your ideas and figure out the exact piece you’re looking for. We help you narrow down the elements that you love the most, and then work with you to make them a reality.

Next, we use 3D printers and CAD modeling to create mockups of your design to ensure every detail is perfect. This allows you to try it on and see it before we create the final product. We’ve found that being able to see a version of it allows for customer satisfaction every time. 

Finally, we source the materials so our expert goldsmith can create the ring of your dreams. This is one of our most popular services and you can learn more about our custom design services here

Don’t Rush 

If you’ve followed the steps above, you’re now fully prepared to design your dream ring upgrade. Remember that there’s no need to rush this process. Unlike when you’re planning a proposal or a wedding, you don’t have any hard deadlines. So, relax, enjoy the process, and take your time shopping on your own or with your spouse. If you avoid rushing, you’ll be able to carefully inspect all your options and make an informed decision that you know in your heart is right for you. 

engagement ring on hand

Final Thoughts 

When upgrading your engagement ring, we recognize the ring itself has an incredible amount of sentimental value. We want to make upgrading your ring feel every bit as special as receiving it the first time. If you have any questions for us that aren’t answered within our guide, please feel free to contact us, or if you feel like you are ready to get started you can also schedule a custom design consultation. We look forward to assisting you every step of the way!