Antique, Vintage & Period Jewelry is very often hand made by craftsmen, and has been designed to stand the test of time, and to last, which when compared to most modern jewelry which is so often mass produced seems only to last only for the fashion cycle that the jewelry was manufactured in.
Having said that this blog is not just relevant for antique jewelry, but also for vintage and period jewelry. If people take more care of their antique jewelry, and treated it with the respect and the attention that hand made period jewelry deserves, then it would not be necessary to firstly try and find an antique jeweler, who is used to working with antique pieces, but also having to pay large sums of money for their own negligence. It is astounding that such valuable articles, with the added sentiment and romanticism, attached which only antique pieces of jewelry seem to have, can be treated so badly. Antique Jewelry, pieces that are over 100 years old should be checked regularly for wear and tear. Below is a list that covers the normal type of repairs or breaks that can occur in Antique Jewelry, Vintage and even quality modern jewelry.
Antique Engagement & Dress Rings
Shanks get thin on the palm side, especially antique engagement rings when they are worn with a wedding band, and they could eventually break. I also had a case in the shop where a young lady brought her antique engagement ring in to me, where the shank was all buckled; it appears that she had been wearing it three days a week for her spinning classes at the gym, gripping tightly on the handle bars of her exercise bike. A shank can be built up or a half one fitted to an antique engagement, at a fraction of the cost, of a complete overhaul.
The claws on antique rings will gradually rub down or break away, and if they are caught in either coats, jackets or jumpers can result in the falling out and even loss of a valuable, sentimental stone. Re-tipping of claws in antique rings can be expensive, but not as expensive as trying to replace a lost stone.
Although most gem stones used in antique jewelry are hard, the surface will eventually scratch, and chip, affecting its brightness and brilliance. This can be caused in a variety of ways; by knocking your antique ring against other hard objects, such as car doors, also by keeping several hard stones mixed together in one jewelry box. However a stone can be easily be re-polished and re-set.
With antique brooches, they are usually lost due to faulty catches or lack of safety chains. these can be fitted at little extra cost, and can be essential. Antique brooches do not suffer so much wear and tear as antique rings, but probably suffer more damage due to being left in a jewelry box with other jewelry. One suggestion is to individually wrap each piece of antique jewelry in tissue before putting them in a jewelry box.
Antique Bead Necklaces
Pearls and Antique beads need to be restrung normally every 5-7 years. Pearls are often strung on silk, and it is safer to have them strung knotted between each pearl and bead, so that if there is ever a breakage in your antique necklace only one piece will roll away,instead of the whole necklace.
Just a maintenance issue especially with antique pearl and turquoise jewelry, but I would advise it with all pieces whether porous or not, but always spray your perfume or eau de toilette on, before putting your antique jewelry on, as this prevents discoloration.
A little care and cleaning of your antique jewelry at home can be a big saver in the long term.
Review the following photos for further display of period styles:
1) Antique Gold Victorian Banded Agate & Diamond Locket circa.1880
2) Antique Faceted Rock Crystal, Ruby & Diamond Pendant, circa 1890
3) Antique Gold, Victorian Turquoise and Natural Pearl, Shell Motif Pendant, circa.1890
4) Antique Multi colored enamel, and Beryl Pendant, circa.1900.
5) Antique Gold, Victorian Natural Pearl, Swirl Shape Sculpted design Locket, circa.1890