Jewelry, whether made centuries ago or recently, must be handled and maintained with great care. Restoring any type of jewelry should be done with caution as this is a meticulous, delicate process. Notably, restoring antique jewelry should especially be done carefully as it is critical to preserve its historical beauty during the process. Restoring antique jewelry takes a great deal of specialized knowledge, expertise, careful craftsmanship, and artistic ability. In order to preserve the historical and aesthetic value of these pieces of jewelry, there are several things to keep in mind.
First, be careful to do an immense amount of research and document anything you can. You need to understand as much about the piece of jewelry as possible. Consider things such as when it was made, the style during that time frame, the value and/or importance of the jewelry. All of this information will aid in the restoration process while maintaining the historical beauty and importance of the piece.
Next, be sure to consult with experts, preferably more than one. Seek the expertise of a certified geologist to confirm the type and value of the stone with the piece of jewelry. Furthermore, reach out to a jewelry historian to ensure that any type of restoration or changes will align with the original designs. Additionally, seek any other type of expert that might aid in the process of this restoration.
Assess the jewelry before any changes are made and create detailed documentation such as photos and written explanation, to ensure a full understanding of the pre-restoration condition. Be sure to examine and note the exact metals, materials, and gemstones in the piece of jewelry so replacement can be done accurately. Also, be sure to document the entire restoration process as well as the post-restoration condition of the piece. Furthermore, consider getting the piece cleaned professionally with non-abrasive materials. This will allow you to see the piece at its best version of its current state without accidentally causing any additional damage to it.
When you do make the choice to restore the piece of jewelry keep preservation in mind. It is suggested by experts that as little as possible be done to the piece to maintain its original state. Be careful to only allow skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable jewelers to work on the piece to avoid any damage being done. Finally, ensure that the entire restoration process is being done in accordance with any ethical and legal considerations, especially if the piece of jewelry being restored has any historical, cultural, or other type of special significance.
Once the piece has been restored, experts suggest that the jewelry only be worn on a limited basis. This is to avoid additional wear and tear and preserve its current state. Seek the advice of a professional to determine when, where, and how to store the piece properly; i.e. cool, dry place that is away from sunlight.
The overall key is to be sure to consult with experts throughout this process. During the restoration process you want to balance the importance of preserving the piece as well as restoring it to ensure the item can be used and enjoyed safely for years to come.