Buying antique jewellery at auction is growing in popularity with a new generation of jewellery enthusiasts.
The combination of unique pieces by esteemed makers at inexpensive price points is an attractive proposition, but how do you ensure the pieces you buy remain in pristine condition?
If you are new to the wonderful world of antique jewellery, this article by Dreweatts' Deputy Chairman and International Head of Jewellery, Silver, and Watches department, James Nicholson, provides some useful tips on how to keep your antique jewellery looking beautiful.
Jewellery, especially antique jewellery, needs care and attention not to deteriorate or to get damaged so it is strongly advised that you don’t wear your jewellery to do DIY, gardening, sporting activities and housework, or wear whilst swimming.
You should keep your jewellery in velvet or suede pouches or individual jewellery cases, rather than letting it all roll around together in a drawer or jewellery case, where it will definitely get scratched, and quite possibly tangled and damaged.
Some stones such as opal, pearl, coral and turquoise can be quite porous, so you shouldn't leave these types of stone in any liquid for too long. Similarly, take care when using cosmetics, hair spray and other household chemicals near these stones, or they may become discoloured.
From time to time, you can give your jewellery a very gentle wash in warm water and mild detergent, such as washing-up liquid, to remove grease and other build ups that may make it tarnish or look dull.
A gentle brush with an old toothbrush can work wonders, but be careful not to dislodge any of the stones in their settings. A deeper clean and polish should only be undertaken by a professional jewellery workshop.
Pearl jewellery should be wiped from time to time with a soft lint free cloth to prevent the build-up of dirt and cosmetics dulling their lustre.
Antique jewellery set with foil backed stones should never be immersed in any liquid, as this could irreparably damage the coloured foiling.
The same goes for jewellery where the stones are stuck into their settings with stone cement like Edwardian half pearl jewellery, as immersing this in liquid can soften the cement and allow the half pearls to fall out.
We hope this article has helped pique your interest in antique jewellery and settle any care concerns you may have had.
If you’re looking to make a purchase or add to your collection, we hold regular jewellery auctions. See our Auction Calendar for our forthcoming auctions.
With special thanks to Tilly Thorns-Hartley for modelling the jewellery in this article.
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