Stones have a natural hardness to them, which differs from stone to stone, meaning that jewellery can (and will!) become scratched if not stored properly. Diamonds will do the most damage as they are the hardest of the gemstones. The key is to keep items of jewellery apart, storing them in small plastic bags or velvet pouches. And do not leave jewellery lying in sunlight as this can affect the colour properties of some stones, such as kunzite ‘the evening jewel’, which fades over time in daylight, or opal which can dry out leading to a ‘crazing’ cracking affect on the surface of the stone.
Conservation (see also Repairs)
The principal of ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ is never truer that when talking about the care of jewellery. Many stones are lost because first they are chipped, eventually leading to cracking and if severe enough, can break in several places and then fall from the setting. If you notice the following, contact Jeppe Leon and we can help prevent further damage or loss occurring:
- A loose stone that rattles in the setting: once a stone is loose it is vulnerable to damage but to tighten a setting is a straightforward procedure and always worth doing
- A chipped or cracked stone: it might be possible for our lapidarist to polish out the initial damage to prevent it from worsening
- A broken claw setting: if this happens to several of the claws, the stone is no longer secure. Most claws can be re-tipped or replaced to give the mount many more years of life
- A crack in the metal work of a piece: this is easily repaired and is essential to the overall strength of the item
- If a piece of jewellery has been dropped, bent or misshapen: when this happens, often the tension and integral strength across the piece is lost, meaning the settings and mount are no longer holding the stones securely. Often such a piece can be straightened in the workshop and at the same time all the settings can be checked for security.
These are just some common examples of damage that can occur to items of jewellery. Jeppe Leon offers a full restoration service and is happy to discuss any repair enquiries.