Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How to Wear Your Antique Jewelry Without Wearing it Out

Queen Elizabeth II,
Wearing antique brooch, heirloom pearls, and vintage earrings
Photo Source: Financial News Stories
by Angela Magnotti Andrews


How many of your beautiful pieces of heirloom jewelry lie in state in the far recesses of your jewelry box? Are your antique beauties locked away in the mausoleum you call your wall safe?

Even the Queen of England takes her crown out of the Tower of London sometimes. Jewelry is wearable art. It serves a function and form that no other art form can boast. Yet, so many of the most beautiful pieces are kept locked away for fear of damaging or losing them.

I hope to empower you to wear your vintage or antique jewelry to black-tie events or even running your errands. Certainly, you will want to take precautions to prevent loss or theft while they are out of their safe cases. Also, please note that each piece of antique jewelry is unique and has undergone possible unknown stresses. It might be a sound decision to take your pieces to a jeweler to ensure that they have wearable life left in them.

Once you get clearance from your jeweler, then following these few tips will allow you to enjoy your treasure on those special occasions that warrant them. In fact, this gentle nudge may be all you need to start wearing your grandmother’s favorite pin close to your heart with every outfit. She would want you to wear it, so long as you don’t wear it out.

  1. Wash your hands and dry them thoroughly before putting on your heirloom jewelry. Hairspray, perfumes, lotions, soaps, oils, and even moisture can harm antique jewels, especially pearls and opals.
  2. Consider carrying your antique or vintage rings, necklaces, brooches, and earrings to and from your event in a secured velvet carrying case. This will ensure that you do not lose an earring or drop a necklace with a faulty clasp. Choose a case that allows you to store each piece separately to guard against scratching or chipping.
  3. If you wish to live decadently and wear your heirloom jewelry as everyday adornment, be sure to put it safely away before gardening, doing housework, swimming in your chlorinated pool, or engaging in sports activities. Again, chemicals and sweat can harm your jewels, and these activities lend themselves most susceptibly to loss.
  4. As soon as you take your antique or vintage jewelry off, store it in a clean, dry place. Depending on its value, you may opt to store it in a locked safe or in a safe deposit box in between uses. Be sure that wherever you choose to safeguard it, you choose velvet-lined boxes with individual spaces or hooks to keep each piece separate from the others. This will prevent scarring, scratching, chipping, and tangling. Also, be sure you photograph and insure any pieces worth over a few hundred dollars.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Hints and Things. "Useful Tips for Cleaning Antique Jewellery." Accessed June 13, 2012. http://www.hintsandthings.com/utilityroom/cleaning%20jewellery.htm.

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