Vermont Gem Lab

Jewelry Restoration

Restoration of your antique jewelry is the preservation of your family’s heritage. Your family jewels have been passed down through generations of love and hard times as each jewel carries with it the stories that formed what has become your family today. Grandma’s diamond engagement ring or great-grandma’s antique brooch were given to them by your forefathers to ensure the prosperity of you and your family and to celebrate the love that once was. Now its your turn to preserve what has been treasured for decades.

But there are questions to be asked. What is needed to restore my jewelry? Will it be restored properly? How can I trust such precious family heirlooms to a jeweler I’ve never met?

The restoration page of this website has several case studies of antique jewelry that have been taken from broken, worn, and mangled pieces, to freshly polished, repaired, and restored pieces. They will show you the process that the Jewelry Restoration Expert takes to ensure that your children’s children will be able to cherish the jewels that have been passed down to them. All of it’s possible because you chose the best in the field- The Jewelry Restoration Expert!

Restoration

Jewelry restoration requires several technical steps in order to bring each piece as close as possible to its original condition. Many processes are used to restore jewelry including cleaning, polishing, replacing lost stones, re-cutting chipped diamonds and gemstones, repairing broken and worn prongs, thickening bezel walls, fixing bent shanks, replacing worn or broken shanks, engraving, applying filigree or millegraining, even removing incorrect “repairs” and poorly performed solder seams.

 

Below are a few examples of some of these processes, all performed by The Jewelry Restoration Expert.

This circa 1910 Art Deco ring was fully restored. The “before” pictures illustrate some of the problems with the piece, such as 18K yellow gold solder on prongs, heavily worn prongs and walls, poor polish and lost texturing (millegraining). After restoration, this ring’s life has been prolonged by another 100 years and looks like it might have on its original owner’s wedding day.

 

Before restoration, the side galleries, which are the most exposed to wear and tear, had been reduced to tiny nicks and bumps. With years of antique jewelry experience to draw on, the Jewelry Restoration Expert made an educated guess as to the original pattern and hand engraved the ring for a crisp finish.

 

This circa 1900 Edwardian platinum-topped gold ring had so little platinum holding its diamonds in place that one had already fallen out. A matching Old European Cut stone was sourced and set into the ring, while all the settings were rebuilt with fresh platinum. Previous attempts at repair using 18K white gold solder, as seen on the left, were removed from the ring.

 

After over 100 years of adornment, the shank on this ring was too thin to wear. A fresh 18K yellow gold shank was welded onto the ring. It is the client’s decision whether or not to install the original hallmarks and maker’s marks onto the new shank.

 

A client brought in her mother’s wedding band for a full restoration. Work on the ring included rhodium plating the white gold to make it sparkle and look new again. All 10 melee diamonds were replaced, as well as metal throughout the ring was rebuilt with the laser welder. The delicate milgrain accents, and other details in the metal that had long been worn down, were rebuilt by hand.

 

This Tiffany & Co. ring was our client’s mother’s ring, and is circa 1927. We know this because at that time Tiffany & Co. was beginning to use Palladium in their rings, and as you can see the head of the ring is just that. Completely restored with one 0.30ct F-SI2 Old European cut center stone, and 6 H-VS perfectly complementary round melee diamonds at 0.92tcw.

 

Side view of a Tiffany & Co. restoration. Shank was restored with 18K yellow gold, and all 20 palladium prongs were re-tipped with the laser welder. Ring is now like new, and able to be worn again.

 

Restorations are done here at VGL with a laser welder, which creates precise repairs that are not only strong but very clean and crisp in appearance. This ring shank had metal added to it to create a more thick, sturdy band that can withstand many more years of wear.

 

An old family piece was brought to us with the intention of bringing back the ring’s original sparkle.  Along with retipping the diamond prongs, a platinum bezel that tapered to allow more light was replaced on the ring.  The shine really came to the ring when is was restored with a more brilliant, dazzling 0.95ct round natural blue sapphire quality AAA.