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.

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.

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.

For more information read an article Restoring Antique Jewelry by Kevin Glenn 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).

 

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.

 

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

 

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

Crane Jewelry Gallery, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON  USA