Care and Cleaning Antique Jewelry 1- Post 164

Care and Cleaning Antique Jewelry 1- Post 164

Antique Jewelry Care post 164

 Wiese Egyptian Revival Necklace     #6570. Wiese Egyptian Revival Necklace. 

So, you got a wonderful antique jewel. It's gorgeous and you get a lot of compliments for it and amazing how it has survived for well over a hundred years. Congratulations - Now you have a job. Every possession brings responsibility and owning jewelry involves some care and cleaning.

Think about the fact that for well over a hundred years people have been taking care of this jewel.
It's a big responsibility to ensure that this wonderful little work of art survives in good shape for future generations and that is your job.
Don't get nervous or afraid. It's not difficult at all. It just takes a little thought and care.

Keep your antique jewelry safe. For that, please see a previous post (post 153) about security at home.

                                                               #5614. Froment Meurice Bangle.  Froment Meurice Bangle


Know what can hurt your jewelry. Hard knocks and bangs, chemicals and excessive pressure. Gold, that constitutes at least part of your jewelry is a very soft metal. It can be bent out of shape. Think of a very old ring, worn quite thin in parts where it rubbed against other rings or fingers.
Some gems are extremely sensitive to chemicals and even air conditioning.
It's a given that you should know what metal and gems are in your jewelry and to know a little about the characteristics of each of them.
Diamonds are very hard, opals and pearls are extremely sensitive and turquoise can discolor due to pollution and air condition.

Where and when do you wear it?
Some earrings are called 'sleepers' or 'dormeuse', meaning that they are sturdy enough to sleep in. The same might apply to your wedding band, but most jewelry could be damaged or hurt you while you sleep, so it's worth taking it off before you hop into bed. People used to have wonderful little jewelry stands next to their beds to pop their jewels on before getting their z's. A small tray or trinket box will also do the trick.
Most jewelry is not suitable for the chlorine in your swimming pool, gardening, housework or judo.
Some gems, in particular pearls, opals, coral and turquoise could be harmed by perfume. Put them on after you shpritzed. These same gems will be jeopardised by body oils, so don't wear them to the beach or to play tennis.
Many rings, especially if foiled, are sensitive to water and should be removed before you wash your hands or shower. If washing your hands in a public place, hold your ring between your teeth. Do not put it on a ledge or counter: it might not be there after your hands dry.

#2354. Antique Moser Glass jewelry stand.  Moser Glass Jewelry Stand

How do you store your jewelry? When you are not wearing your jewelry, is it all thrown into a box, where one piece might scratch another? Is each item contained in its own box or little silk pouch? Items that are sensitive to air conditioning, water and chemicals are especially in need of careful storage.

After a few hundred years and constant wear and tear, gems might be a little scratched, especially on the edges of facets. Some antique jewelry collectors see this as part of the venerability of age. Other people object to the commensurate dulling of the jewel. In this case, you could take your jewelry to have the stones polished. It is a personal choice. Do be sure that your jeweller is reliable.

sapphire ring#5652 this ring can do with a clean.

It happens!! Sometimes, despite our best efforts, an item is damaged. What a pity, but don't worry. Most damage can be repaired. If you look carefully at most antique jewelry, there is already a small sign of soldering or a clasp or wire that are clearly not original to the item. Over the centuries, jewelry needed fixing. This is part of our job as custodians of these little works of art, to ensure that they reach future generations. We are responsible for restoring our jewelry as best as it can possibly be done. I cannot emphasize the importance of a good restorer. Your restorer can make the jewel look like new or can utterly destroy it beyond salvation. If an item breaks, get it restored without delay.

When you buy antique jewelry, it's a good idea to take it straight to your jeweller to have him/her check it. It is natural that after hundreds of years, prongs and clasps might not be secure and in some other way, your gems might be jeopardised and in danger of falling out. Make sure that all parts are in good working order to your satisfaction.
I've heard it said that you should have your jewelry checked every 6 months. This seems to me to be a bit often, but periodically it is a good idea to ensure that stones are firm and secure in their mounts. Is gold hoop cracking or wearing so thin that it could break? Has a gem chipped? Once again, it is important to find a good jeweller that you can trust.

Almost everything I said above is simple, common sense. You knew that. I just wanted to remind you so that I can be sure your jewelry is safe for years to come.

Next time, we will chat about cleaning your jewelry.

                                                                                              #6508 gem brooch


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