WHAT IS REFINERY?
Refinery is the process of reducing impurities in fine metals and other substances. More specifically in this context, refinery is the combining, melting, redesigning, and creating of a new piece of jewelry you’re proud to wear. It’s a sustainable practice that ensures materials don’t end up in the landfill, and that’s important to Katie Boyle as an Earth-positive business.
So you take my precious jewelry and melt it all down?
Yes—but it’s towards a greater good. Jewelry is meant to be worn, and meaningful family pieces you move from place to place without ever wearing aren’t serving their purpose. Ask yourself if a better way to honour those who passed these pieces along to you is to carry the jewelry with you, in some form or another.
Do you have to melt it?
Typically yes. However, if something is in great condition—like a nice chain, or some earring backs—and can be reused or upcycled we can definitely put those pieces to work without melting them. If you’d prefer to trade the materials for credit in the Katie Boyle store, that’s another option.
How much jewelry do I need to bring?
The more you bring, the more there is to work with! Every job is different, since it all depends on what you’d like to get out of it, but if you’ve got a minimum of 5 grams of gold (a typical wedding band is about 1 gram, for example), or some special stones you’d like to feature you’ll have more flexibility. That being said, bring what you have—just don’t expect to stretch a new pair of earrings and a necklace out of a couple of small rings. Because refinery literally means the reduction of impurities, depending on the karat of your gold, material will be lost in the melting process. You should expect to put in an additional financial investment to flesh out the material you lose in the refining process, but that’s all part of the experience.
What is The Refinery process with Katie Boyle from start to finish?
Schedule a consultation and give Katie an idea of the materials you have to work with.
Inventory, Appraisal, and Offer
Katie must see the pieces in person in order to evaluate them. They can be mailed in, or brought in person. From here, Katie will photograph and inventory each piece including noting karats, appraise the lot, then send out an offer letter to you. If gold is unstamped, alloy testing is available for an additional fee
Once you have the valuation, you may choose to trade the materials for credit to Katie’s store, or choose to design with Katie a new piece or pieces. You two will have a conversation about your story and your vision, which Katie will take away to inform her new designs.
In seven to ten days, Katie will pitch three designs with sketches and CAD renderings—this is where you’ll be charged a non-refundable design fee, which also covers three revisions. Then you’ll choose your favourite, and flesh out the final vision together.
Every job is unique, but we try to stay within the scope of handing you your modern heirloom within four to six weeks after Katie has the materials in hand.
What should I prepare before a consultation?
Because this is a very personal experience, you should have an idea of what you’d like in advance of your appointment—think about the story you’d like to tell, the elements of the material you’d like to highlight, and also what types of piece(s) you’d like to get out of it. For example, you might say “I’d like to feature the ruby and I’d like a ring.” A couple of inspiration photos are great, but know that as a designer, Katie isn’t interested in copying others’ work, but collaborating with you on a unique vision. See our case studies if you’re looking for some inspiration—there are so many possibilities.
What does the experience cost?
Each consultation will result in a different fee, depending on the amount of material you have to work with (and therefore how much additional material might need to be purchased), the number of pieces that will be designed, and the number of people being designed for. However, if you get to the design phase, you’ll be charged a non-refundable design fee. Contact Katie Boyle to begin a conversation.
How do you determine the value of the jewelry I bring in?
Luckily, gold always retains its value, no matter what form it takes. That’s why it’s the only precious metal we work with in The Refinery. And this might be the tough part, but be prepared to hear that the monetary value of the materials doesn’t match the emotional value of the pieces. Your pieces will be evaluated strictly as materials first, then go from there.
Why work with The Refinery over buying something new?
The Refinery is so much about the experience—this isn’t just stepping into a store and picking out something pretty (though that has its perks). This is creating a piece that speaks, one you could pass down through generations. Also, because refinery filters your materials, you’ll leave with something more pure than what you started with.
Any more questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to see if The Refinery is the right experience for you.