CARE OF JEWELLERY
is designed for wear, of course, great care should be taken in the wearing
and handling of antique pieces.
Often 19th century
jewellery is made from hollow gold, which is very easily damaged. It is important not to allow pieces to be
knocked against hard surfaces because it is virtually impossible to remove
dents or repair 'bruised' hollow gold. The settings of gem-set pieces, especially claws, do become fragile,
and if damaged can result in stones dropping out.
perfume, hair spray and make up can tarnish metal or discolour natural
materials such as pearls. Even skin
acid can sometimes discolour turquoise. It is important that jewellery is not over exposed to these chemical substances. Pieces worn everyday will, like clothing,
eventually show signs of wear and tear.
Proper storage can prolong the life of a jewel and
maintain its good condition. It is a
mistake to heap any jewellery, let alone antique jewellery together loosely
in a box. It is best to keep items
separately in the boxes or felt pouches they were originally supplied in, if
possible. Pearls should always be kept separately from gemstones because the
metal claws of gem settings can scratch a pearl and ruin its surface
lustre. Keeping pearls in their own
box or pouch will also protect them from harmful acids.
A little care and cleaning of your jewellery
at home is not only worthwhile but rewarding — but please do not waste good
gin! Any liquid or spirit that dissolves grease and dirt can be used in
conjunction with a soft bristle toothbrush. Mix the spirit with whitening
powder, working it into a stiff paste. Methylated Spirits is excellent for
brightening metal. The powder should be brushed on to the jewellery and left
to dry and then brushed off again. Various proprietary "Jewellery Care
Kits", are available, which usually consist of a jar of special liquid,
an immersible tray and a small stiff brush, and are ideal for cleaning jewellery
at home, except, obviously, for foiled jewellery, which must never be allowed
to get wet. For cleaning the setting of the latter, dry whitening powder
brushed over the metal with a soft bristle toothbrush will suffice without
damaging the foil in any way.
Foiled jewellery should never be allowed to
get wet, for if moisture gets behind the stone, the coloured, or silver,
tinsel will discolour and the character of the brooch and the stones in it
become dull and lifeless.
SEED PEARL WORK
It is not fashionable today and very little
remains in perfect condition since it is very fragile. Regrettably, if it
does get broken, there are few jewellers capable or willing to take on this
Enamel is fragile and after all, only a form of
glass, and therefore will chip, crack and scratch if it is allowed to be in
contact with other stones. To touch up enamel is always a patchy job and will
be noticeable to the trained eye. The alternative is to remove the enamel
completely and start from scratch, but of course this is not practical with
early jewellery, as its character will inevitably be changed.