Jewelry Restoration

 

Conservation is a careful preservation and protection of an object and is the approach most often favored by museums for collections that are not intended to be worn.  The work is stabilized and then stored or displayed to minimize future deterioration.  Any restoration is minimal to avoid clouding the view of the original work, which would damage its historical significance.   Historical restoration of antique jewelery  involves using authentic period details, materials, tools and techniques.  It often involves extensive research.  Historic restoration also involves many aspects of conservation.  The goal is to preserve all the work that is good, repair or restore what is missing or broken so it blends seamlessly with the original and re-create the appropriate patinas and surfaces so the new work is difficult or impossible to detect.

Completed Restoration on an antique platinum ring set with an old european cut  diamond. This restoration was done by Crane Jewelers Ltd. 519 Pine Street Seattle WA 09101

Kevin Crane has been restoring antique jewelry since 1979. He was published in Jewelers Circular Keystone magazine as an authority on the subject.

For more information read an article Restoring Antique Jewelry by Kevin Crane

 

 

The RESTORATION OF AN ANTIQUE TIARA

Years ago, an antique tiara hair comb made by Tiffany and Co. came to me for a total restoration. This particular  piece was one of the hair accessories fashionable in the Edwardian era, which lasted from 1901 – 1910. At that time the tiara was the headdress selected by society women for most formal occasions. The hair styles and silhouettes of the period lent themselves to this type of ornamentation.

One of the most popular hair styles of the Edwardian period was known as the Pompadour, after Madame de Pompadour (1721-1764) the famous mistress of Louis XV. This was a distinctive puffed style that was popularized by the “Gibson Girl” drawings of famous artist Charles Dana Gibson. It is sometimes referred to as the Gibson Girl coiffure. It was supported at the back of the head and sometimes at the sides as well, by wide hair combs or barrettes, which might be as plain or as fancy as the wearer desired. This particular Tiara would have normally been worn in the front. It was designed in the garland style and constructed by hand of platinum over 18 Karat gold and set with fine old European cut diamonds.

The tortoise shell comb section was very brittle and there was no other option than to replace it. Additionally, the diamond set platinum and gold mountings were broken and some diamonds were missing.

 

On the whole, the piece was in dire condition.

 

a tortoise shell antique that had to be replaced. Conservation is a careful preservation and protection of an object and is the approach most often favored by museums for collections that are not intended to be worn.  The work is stabilized and then stored or displayed to minimize future deterioration.  Any restoration is minimal to avoid clouding the view of the original work, which would damage its historical significance.

An antique tortoiseshell comb made by Tiffany and Co. in brittle and damaged condition.

 

Historical restoration involves using authentic period details, materials, tools and techniques.  It often involves extensive research.  Historic restoration also involves many aspects of conservation.  The goal is to preserve all the work that is good, repair or restore what is missing or broken so it blends seamlessly with the original and re-create the appropriate patinas and surfaces so the new work is difficult or impossible to detect.Completed Restoration on an antique starburst  pendant set withdiamonds and rubies restoration by Crane Jewelers Ltd. 519 Pine Street Seattle WA 09101 All rights under copyright reserved 2016

A piece was salvaged from another damaged antique and was moulded into shape.

 

The tortoise shell was attached to the diamond set mounting by three gold screws. I removed the broken tortoise shell and made a two part copper mold of the form by forging and raising two sheets of copper and planishing and polishing the two matching mold faces perfectly smooth.

It was  absolutely critical that the curve of new piece match the original exactly.

 

Tortoiseshell or tortoise shell is a material produced from the shells of the larger species of tortoise and turtle, mainly the hawksbill turtle,( Eretmochelys imbricata) which is an endangered species largely because of its exploitation for the material. The large size, fine color and unusual form of the hawksbill’s scutes made it especially suitable for a variety of objects. Tortoiseshell was widely used from ancient times in the West and in Asia before the invention of synthetic polymers,. The trade was finally banned worldwide under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) in 1973.

Fortunately an antique piece of tortoise shell from an 18th century object was in the shop.  It had come off of a piece of furniture that had been damaged beyond all hope of repair.

If I had not already had the broken pieces of  antique shell at the time, I would have simply used horn which is a period appropriate replacement and would look very similar to the original comb. One could also use Delrin which is a trade name for Polyoxymethylene, an engineering thermoplastic used in precision parts requiring high stiffness, low friction and excellent dimensional stability. (We no longer work in horn or Elephant  ivory.

The tortoise shell fragment was soaked in water for a week, boiled in brine, clamped into the copper mold and allowed to dry for more than three weeks…

Antique restoration of an antique comb.by Crane Jewelers Ltd. 519 Pine Street Seattle WA 09101 All rights under copyright reserved 2016

The Antique comb after Complete restoration By Kevin Glenn Crane

Meanwhile, I repaired the damage to the mounting, sourced old European cut diamonds, set them into the places where they were missing and re-engraved the settings.

I removed the piece of shell from its mold and checked the piece  every day. When I finally determined that it was stable, I  removed the piece from the mold and sawed the teeth out  by hand. The entire piece was sanded and polished to a high lustre, also by hand, and carefully fitted and screwed to the restored garland style mounting.

Looking back, I may have preferred to have matched the wavy style of the teeth on the original comb. I favor Historical preservation over interpretive restoration.  However, the comb’s owner requested the straight style of  teeth for aesthetic reasons. As both styles are historically correct, I could offer no objections to the request.

Antique jewelery restoation and repair, Aquamarine pendant set with diamonds, Antique Jewelery restoration by Crane Jewelers Ltd. 519 Pine Street Seattle WA 09101 All rights under copyright reserved 2016

The Finished Restoration of a Edwardian period platinum Aquamarine pendant

 

 

Kevin Glenn Crane

Seattle, Washington

 

The Restoration of an Edwardian Lavaliere

A lavalier is the type of pendant popularized in the late 17th century by the Dutchess de la Valliere, a mistress of King Louis the XIV of France. The name was eventually shortened to “lavalier(e)”. The lavalier is distinguished from other types of pendants by a center drop  (usually a stone) which is directly attached to the chain  without a bail or removable connection device.

An antique  lavaliere necklace  from the Edwardian period had been damaged and one of our clients brought it  into our shop in need of repair… This particular  necklace had been hand built at the turn of the 20th century and consisted of a 15 inch long, platinum rectangular link chain.  Dropping from the chain, in decorative bezel set links, were 17 round old European cut diamonds and six bezel-set fancy cut aquamarines: three cushion cut,  one oval , and two marquise cut. See Fig 1.

The necklace’s center piece was a briolette cut aquamarine measuring 18.2mm x 7.3mm, weighing approximately 7.5 carats. The stone was set in a hand made, platinum tapered mounting and suspended on a section of platinum chain that allowed it to swing  freely at the center of the necklace.

In order to secure the  briolette cut aquamarine to the platinum cap it had been cross-drilled horizontally through the top near the end.  The cap was drilled in the place that  corresponded to the briolette and  fitted over the drilled end covering the hole.  A  platinum pin was inserted  through both parts and riveted on the outside.

The rivet was burnished and the cap polished to make the rivet become almost invisible.

An antique  lavaliere necklace  from the Edwardian period restoration.

Fig. 1. A damaged antique lavaliere necklace.

Unfortunately; The aqua took a hit at some point and the end of the briolette that was  hidden inside the platinum cap shattered,  allowing  the gem to swing freely on the pin. The stone was barley attached and it is a miracle that it was not lost.

  Historical restoration involves using authentic period details, materials, tools and techniques.  It often involves extensive research.  Historic restoration also involves many aspects of conservation.  The goal is to preserve all the work that is good, repair or restore what is missing or broken so it blends seamlessly with the original and re-create the appropriate patinas and surfaces so the new work is difficult or impossible to detect,  Aquamarine pendant set with diamonds, Antique Jewelery restoration by Crane Jewelers Ltd. 519 Pine Street Seattle WA 09101 All rights under copyright reserved 2016

Fig 2.The briolette removed from the mounting

We removed the pin to free the briolette cut aquamarine for examination. The stone was severely compromised, the top of the aquamarine was completely missing  just above the drilled  hole. See Fig 2.

In order to re-attach the stone it would be necessary to re cut and polish the end and to drill a new hole, at a lower point on the briolette.

No matter what, the briolette could not be re-set into the original cap as it was. The aperture was too small to accommodate the re-cut stone. We normally prefer for the extent of any estoration to be  minimal to avoid clouding the view of the original work,and damage historical significance. We decided to undertake a Historical restoration. This  involved using authentic period details, materials, tools and techniques and extensive research. Our goal was  to preserve all the work that was still good, repair or restore what is missing and  broken so it would blend seamlessly with the original and re-create the appropriate patinas and surfaces so the new work would be  difficult if not impossible to detect.

 Aquamarine pendant set with diamonds, Antique Jewelery restoration by Crane Jewelers Ltd. 519 Pine Street Seattle WA 09101 All rights under copyright reserved 2016

Fig. 3. The Platinum Collar addition.

We made the decision to make an addition for the original mounting by extending and lengthening the cap with the addition of a  new platinum collar to be attached at the bottom, accommodate a new pin, and secure the briolette. See Fig.3.

Our greatest concern in the design and execution of these repairs was to ensure that the new work blended into the original and that the elegant line of the drop be maintained.

Modern briolette pendants tend to be heavy, we drilled and sawed openings into the extended cap, lighten it visually, matching the original design motifs and allowing  light to penetrate the stone…

The  briolette cut aquamarine was polished and  once again cross-drilled horizontally, through the top, near the end.

The cap was placed over the end, covering the hole and the stone was pinned to the cap in a manner similar to what had been originally used.

However; We did not rivet the pin. We felt that hammering the tapered platinum cap over the aquamarine would create stress on the stone. This type of internal stress may have added to the original problem with the pendant,  making the stone prone to breakage. We chose instead  to bead the pin ends in a manner and with a technique that was used during the period in which the piece was originally created. See Fig 4. This technique does not cause pressure to be exerted on the briolette and is therefore safer for the stone…

 

Restoration on an antique platinum necklace

Fig. 4. the finished Lavaliere

 

Our client was pleased with the result.

 

Kevin Glenn Crane

Seattle, Washington

 

The Restoration of  a pair of  Antique necklaces

We are often called upon to repair the mistakes and damage done by Jewelers and past owners of antiques. Most Jewelers working  in the United States today have a callous disregard for antique Jewelery , they exhibit almost no knowledge of  jewelery history much less Art history.   The pendant in the photograph below is what we refer to as a ”marriage”. Two pieces from different styles, age and materials have been badly combined to create one piece that is unwearable.

 

 

We are often called upon to repair the mistakes and damage done by Jewelers and past owners of antiques the pendant is what we refer to as a marriage. Two pieces from different styles, age and materials have been badly combined to create one piece that is unwearable.

 Piece before restoration at crane jewelers

The chain and bow are 14 Karat gold, the bottom section is platinum and set with pearls, sapphires and diamonds.

This is a bad marriage, it will not hang from the neck correctly and was therefore impossible te wear. These two must to be separated and live their own lives.

It is our goal to make these pieces be as true to their original style. Each an antique in excellent condition with no trace of repair.

For this project we chose Conservation and Historical restoration.

Conservation is a careful preservation and protection of an object and is the approach most often favored by museums for collections that are not intended to be worn.  The work is stabilized and then stored or displayed to minimize future deterioration.  Any restoration is minimal to avoid clouding the view of the original work, which would damage its historical significance.

Historical restoration involves using authentic period details, materials, tools and techniques.  It often involves extensive research.  Historic restoration also involves many aspects of conservation.  The goal is to preserve all the work that is good, repair or restore what is missing or broken so it blends seamlessly with the original and re-create the appropriate patinas and surfaces so the new work is difficult or impossible to detect.

Most Jewelers working  in the United States today have a callous disregard for antique Jewelery and almost no knowledge of  jewelery history much less Art history.  .

The Edwardian pendant has been removed from the white gold bow and a white gold bezel has been installed on the spot where the platinum Edwardian pendant was attached. An old European cut diamond set. The necklace has been completely restored and the separation of the complicated bad marriage completed.

 

Historical restoration involves using authentic period details, materials, tools and techniques.  It often involves extensive research.  Historic restoration also involves many aspects of conservation.  The goal is to preserve all the work that is good, repair or restore what is missing or broken so it blends seamlessly with the original and re-create the appropriate patinas and surfaces so the new work is difficult or impossible to detect,  Antique Jewelery Repair and restorationCompleted Restoration on an antique platinum pendant set with pearls, sapphires and diamonds restoration by Crane Jewelers Ltd. 519 Pine Street Seattle WA 09101

the Completed Restoration and repair of the antique platinum pendant

The platinum Edwardian pendant has been completely restored, an appropriate platinum cable chain was found and a matched pair of old European cut diamonds have been set into very fine platinum bezels and spaced as they would have originally been in the Edwardian period, to float in the chain.

For more information read an article Restoring Antique Jewelry by Kevin Crane

An expert in period design, with over thirty years of experience in goldsmithing, platinumsmithing and stone setting,  Kevin Crane, Design Director and owner of Crane Jewelers, specializes in custom design and period restoration.  Trained in Europe with Masters from Germany, Spain and Eastern Europe,  Kevin Crane has  a loyal international following of clients, Crane’s work has been exhibited in North America, Japan, Italy and Germany, and is represented in collections internationally.  His work has been published in Marthe Le Van’s 500 Brooches (Lark Books).

Here is a gallery of recent restorations done by Kevin Glenn Crane at Crane Jewelers.

 

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Crane Jewelry Gallery at 519 Pine Street in downtown Seattle, was designed by award winning architects Jim Olson and Tom Kundig in 1987.  Visiting the gallery is often reminisced upon as the experience of a private museum showing objects d’art from the farthest reaches of the world.

An interesting article

http://www.seattlemetalsguild.org/2012/09/restoring-antique-jewelry-part-1-by-kevin-glenn-crane/

Location:              Visit Crane Jewelry Gallery of custom design and antique fine jewelry pieces.

Located at 519 Pine Street just across from Nordstrom in downtown Seattle.

Hours:                   Tuesday – Saturday        10 am – 5 pm

E-mail:                                  kc@cranejewelers.com

Telephone          206.624.1531 PST

 

CRANE JEWELERS-THE ART OF ELEGANCE

 

http://www.seattlemetalsguild.org/2012/09/restoring-antique-jewelry-part-1-by-kevin-glenn-crane/##

 

For more information contact Kevin Glenn Crane,     Telephone  206.624.1531  Pacific Standard Time

Crane Jewelry Gallery, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON  USA