Preserving Your Heirloom Jewellery

Antique Rose Earrings Hanging From Antique Decorative Frame

Do you remember as a child admiring your grandmother's – or great-grandmother's – beautiful jewellery? Did she wear pretty scarf clips or brooches, or fancy earrings from the stylish art-deco era? Were you lucky enough to be allowed to use her jewellery in games of dress-up, or to sort through her jewellery box to admire the coloured gems? There's no wonder that with so many cherished childhood memories the sentimental value of heirloom jewellery can be far greater than any actual insurable value! One day the responsibility for looking after that heirloom jewellery will pass to you, so how do you make sure your preserve it for generations to come?

Here are the hazards to look for in preserving antique jewellery, and the measures you can take to keep those pearls and gems sparkly clean. 1: WEAR & TEAR OK, it's obvious, with old jewellery one of the biggest hazards is ... age! Age can weaken jewellery and loosen clasps, or wear the metal fastenings thin. You can take your piece to a jeweller for a professional repair or replacement of damaged parts, but if you're a purist (like me) you probably want to keep your heirloom jewellery as original and authentic as possible. Regularly check your fastenings and closures and take preventative steps as soon as you notice a problem. If you have a necklace or bracelet with a weak clasp consider having a safety chain fitted. The chain attaches to both ends of a necklace or bracelet and measures between 2cm and 5cm. If the clasp comes undone the chain will hold the necklace or bracelet ends together to keep your jewellery from falling off. You can DIY a safety chain with findings from a craft store, or they're available to buy from many sources online. All you need is a short length of chain and two round spring or lobster clasps. Fix a clasp to both ends of the chain and clip to strong links on your necklace or bracelet. If your necklace or bracelet has fine links, or is solid, it might be worth asking a jeweller to weld a chain securely and neatly to your jewellery to keep it safe.

Antique Pearl Necklace