I’ve Just Inherited Antique Jewelry, What Do I Need to Know?

Heirloom pieces can make especially meaningful bridal jewelry. Passed down from generation to generation, they have an aura of love and family already instilled in them. Unfortunately, with that lovely sentiment comes a generation’s worth of wear and tear, as well! Heirloom pieces, be they twenty years old or from the 1800’s, can almost always be restored. This refreshes the piece and makes it secure to wear for another lifetime, without disturbing the spirit of tradition in which it was given.

The first thing to check when evaluating heirlooms is the condition of the prongs. The prongs are responsible for keeping the stone safe and secure, so check that they are laying flat against the gem, that they are not paper thin, and most importantly, that there are none missing! Now’s a good time to look at the stone itself, and take note of any cracks or chips that might be a problem in the future.

Next we look at the undercarriage: Engagement rings are usually worn alongside wedding bands, and this can cause uneven wear to the sides of the ring. Finally, check out the shank, or back, of the ring. This is the area that will be worked on when the ring is sized, so take note of any engravings you’d like to keep for sentimental reasons! If the metal is worn very thin, a new shank may be in order.

Heirloom jewelry can be fairly new, or it can be a hundred years old! No matter how many generations it’s been passed through, there’s sure to be some wear. Correcting this wear gives you the chance to tailor the piece to perfection!

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