Caring for Your Vintage Jewelry
Amber Michelle - Chief Curator & Storyteller
Now that you have taken on guardianship of a fabulous piece of vintage jewelry it is important to care for it properly. Gail Brett Levine, senior evaluator for Auction Market Resource, offered up a few suggestions on how to safeguard your new treasure.
- If you keep your jewelry in a safety deposit box, do not store it near a hot water heater. “The box can overheat and damage the stones,” explains Levine. Keep your jewelry in a good box so that it stays protected. The jewelry should be stored in cloth or paper. “The only exception is diamonds,” says Levine. “Diamonds are very hard and can scratch other pieces of jewelry including other diamonds, so it is a good idea to keep them separate from other pieces and in individual plastic bags.”
- Once every year or two, take your jewelry to a jeweler who understands older jewelry to check that prongs are secure and that brooch stems are not bent. Check clasps to make sure that they continue to close properly.
- If you need a repair on a serious antique piece, Levine suggests finding someone who is good at laser repair so that they can make the repair seamless, with no unsightly blobs of metal from soldering. Make sure that the repair is made with the same metal as the piece was made from originally.
- Get an appraisal for overall quality.