When we buy estate jewelry, some pieces need repair or restoration. The keys to a successful jewelry restoration are to use similar materials for replacements, to keep the original finish and patina intact, and to retain as much of the original design as possible
We just finished putting this lovely late Victorian “Swag” necklace back together–when we purchased it, the chains were in tatters, and several pearls were missing.
We knew from the style of the period and from the existing pearl settings that the missing pearls were most likely American freshwater natural pearls. Our good friend Gina Latendresse at American Pearl Company was able to supply three “Angel Wing” pearls and one roundish pearl of the appropriate size and quality. After studying the piece, we decided to use a diamond for the prong setting directly under the center oval coral– curiously, the prongs showed no evidence of ever holding a gemstone, so the obvious choice was an Old European diamond from our stock of antique stones.
We love the style, the skillful metal work, and the bloomed gold finish typical of the period– we date it 1880 – 1920, late Victorian/Early Art Nouveau. We were lucky that so much of the piece was intact and that the finish was in really good original condition– it made our job easy– without this blog, we doubt if anyone, even an expert could tell that the piece has been restored!
The “Swag” style was very popular in it’s heyday, and is really suitable for today’s retro look. It’s available for sale, right now from our Estate Department, item #I-20865.