When you get your antique jewelry restored, then you are seeing to the preservation of the heritage of your family. You might have family jewels which have gotten passed down from one generation to the next, seeing both the hard times and love that each piece carries with it through time, along with the stories that your family writes and passes down. You might have an antique brooch or even a grandparent’s diamond engagement ring passed down through the generations to ensure continued prosperity and love. Now, the time has come for you to choose what to preserve so that it might be treasured for even more decades.
However, questions to need to be answered. What will jewelry restoration require? Is proper restoration possible and likely? Who could I possibly trust precious heirlooms to when I’ve never met them before?
The restoration of jewelry necessitates a number of technical steps so that each piece might be brought as close as it can to the original condition it once enjoyed. A lot of processes are used in the restoration of jewelry. They include cleaning, replacement of lost stones, polishing, the re-cutting of chipped gemstones and diamonds, repairs for worn or broken prongs, fixing bent shanks, the replacement of broken or worn shanks, the thickening of bezel walls, engraving, and the application of millegraining or filigree. Does that sound like a lot? It is, considering that some restoration might even be the removal of previous and incorrect repairs that might have involved poorly done solder seams.
Picking Out What You Get Restored
If you’re like anyone else, you’ve heard horror stories of owners who had antique jewelry they had restored, only to see the value destroyed. On the other hand, there are quite a few times when an older piece is so damaged or unattractive that restoration would make it far more valuable. Knowing the difference between each scenario is often tricky, but in most circumstances, it really just boils down to the very piece itself.
Take Value Into Consideration Prior To Restoration
In many cases, you might have to weigh the inherent value. For instance, some items might be crafted by renowned artisans, and so would have value even without getting restored, which could actually hurt the value. In such pieces, the value might be the name behind it or the person who crafted it, instead of how it currently looks. Unless they have suffered actual damage, such pieces might be better off left as they are.
On the other hand, it’s actually not commonly the case for most antique pieces of jewelry. A robust restoration job should improve the item value. A good restoration is going to allow the piece’s beauty to truly show, making it more attractive and even useful.
If you are personally in doubt about when a piece might be a restoration candidate or just already have inherent value as-is, then having a professional appraisal is a smart move. You can also take this opportunity to ask the appraiser what quality restoration would do to the value of the item.
Factor In How Much Damage Is Present
There is a huge difference between an old necklace that’s sun-faded on the surface and an earring that is missing parts it needs to even be worn. Restoration focuses on returning any piece to its previous state of condition, but in some cases, how much damage is there might dictate if this is a good idea.
In many cases, minor damage might be best off left alone. That can include crackled or faded finish or other signs of wear, tear, and age. Having said that, any piece actually broken physically or with so much damage that they hurt your eyes might be a prime candidate for a professional restoration project, as is anything that’s definitely lost its original finish. Also, any restoration which corrects a previous but botched repair attempt is almost always a smart decision.
Understanding Your Risk
When you think about whether or not you get a piece restored, keep in mind that any restoration effort carries an element of risk. If any particular piece has personal value to you, regardless of its substantial monetary value or lack thereof, you must factor in how the restoration could wind up worsening the condition. Delicate items, like antique jewelry, occasionally suffer damage or even destruction with reconditioning, repairs, or restoration efforts, even in the hands of a reputable professional.
Stones And Metals Might Retain Their Value
It’s hard to look at a piece of gorgeous jewelry and think of it just as a hunk of metal. However, jewelry can have value just given the things it’s made from. That means that even in the worst of circumstances, your items might still have value. If your items have any platinum, diamonds, gold, silver, or gemstones, then you can get some market value from your item, regardless of its conditioning.
Parts And Pieces
Sometimes, jewelry might have pieces or parts that could be repurposed. This is especially true for necklaces and watches, among other things. Watches usually have a lot of moving pieces which are prized for others doing restoration work on similar pieces. Spare parts might be worth a small fortune in vintage jewelry since manufacturers might not make such parts anymore, if they’re even still around.
Patina Can Have Value
In some cases, the value of an antique might just be from its age in the first place, which is important to consider if you’re thinking about selling a piece. Surface wear and oxidation create the patina, making a piece’s history or age evident, and many collectors prize this. Having said that, it’s not always the case for antique jewelry. Still, it reinforces the previous suggestion of appraisal before restoration, if you’re concerned about market value more than preservation.
Who Is Best For The Restoration?
One very critical factor in assessing the potential impact of a restoration on a piece’s value is who you choose to do the work. Quality and professional restoration might increase the values of your various treasures, whereas substandard work might actually destroy your piece of precious history. The decision on whether or not to get a professional jewelry repair shop quite honestly depends on your circumstances and preferences, but hopefully this article has laid out good guidelines that help you make wise choices.