This was her mother's bracelet from the 1960's. This style of three interconnected pieces (bracelet, ornament and ring) is sometimes called a wrist chain, harem jewelry or our favorite- hand flower. They are made in many metal and stone combinations across the globe. This hand flower is made of sterling silver with turquoise and coral stones by a Native American artist. It's a lovely and graceful piece, but as sometimes happens with these chains, it was caught on something while she was wearing it. She took it to several places and they all told her it could not be repaired.

Saving the Hand Flower Bracelet

The first challenge was finding a piece of turquoise to match the original two. That can be a big stumbling block with vintage material as your chances of finding matches in modern stones is pretty small. It took several weeks, but a matching piece of rough was found. The piece had to be cut to fit, polished and set. The chain was broken in several places, so we repaired that and added a few links since her hand was longer than her moms. At her request we left the patina alone.

What can we save for you?

Bring your broken jewelry in and lets get it restored!

We've all tried it. Seduced by the sparkle and pizazz of vintage earrings, we try to wear them. But they might as well have been invented by Torquemada, they're so uncomfortable. If you loosen them up so they don't pinch your earlobes in half, they fall off. So these beautiful pieces of jewelry end up in the back of your jewelry box, never to see the light of day again.

We Convert Clip Earrings to Post

But it doesn't have to be that way. We can convert those tiny torture devices to the wearable art they were meant to be. Depending on how they are made (and what you want, of course) we can convert the earrings to posts or french hooks. Open that jewelry box and bring us your awesome, previously unwearable, vintage earrings. Earring conversions can be done with sterling silver, surgical steel, gold-fill and either white or yellow gold.

Do you have earlobes of steel?

We know there are a few of you out there who never had your ears pierced. Have no fear, we can also convert post earrings to clip or screwback styles. Or shop our extensive collection of vintage clip and screwback earrings.

#jeweledlegacy #vintagejewelry #jewelryhacks #earringconversion #rhinestoneearrings #vintageearrings #clipearrings

People ask me how I can date old jewelry- it's not like it comes inscribed with the year it was made. Which is true in the literal sense, but there are a great many factors that, when considered together, can tell me the age of a piece.

How is it made? The type of closure on a pin, for example, is very helpful. Is the pin is secured with a simple 'c' of metal or does it have a safety catch? Look at the other side of the pin next- is the pin soldered directly into the brooch or is it set in a hinge? If it's a hinge, how wide? Is the piece solid or hollow? Does it look stamped, chased, cast or built by layers? If there are stones, how are they set?

What kind of metal was used? Not everything was silver or gold. Iron and cut-steel came and went in fads. Gold-fill was actually patented in 1817 as a response to the metal shortages from the Napoleonic and Crimean Wars. If it's gold- what carat? What hardening agents were alloyed into the gold? (the variances can give you regional clues as well) Aluminum was very rare during the Victorian era and would have only been used as a thin leaf appliqued to another metal. Platinum couldn't be melted until a revolutionary invention in 1895.

What stones are set in the piece- if any? How are they cut? Is it a cabochon cut or is it faceted? The way a stone is faceted will also help with dating- look at how steep the crown angles are, how big the table is and whether or not it has a culet (a facet on the bottom). Is the stone natural or not? Glass, Paste, Strass or doublet? If it's natural, what is it? Different stones are popular at different times, and some shades came only from certain regions. What mines were in production? What trade routes were blocked (war, civil unrest, embargoes)?

What style is the piece? Even the type of jewelry (brooch, earring, tiara, ect.) can help narrow it down. In the 1830's, fashion made the head and the neck the focal point for jewelry. Women wore a jewel on their forehead called a ferronniere and very elaborate hair pieces, with open necks to showcase small lockets and necklaces. Then in the 40's clothing becomes very demure- all high necks and bonnets so there aren't many earrings or necklaces made in this period at all. Instead it is brooches at the collar, bangle bracelets and rings. The 50's see a return of the ear- although earrings stay small and fairly simple, while the new lower necklines are graced with some rather substantial necklaces. The 60's were all about color- only the brightest and boldest jewelry could keep pace with the Garibaldi-inspired fashion. Jewelry from this time is also very heavy and elaborate. Not to be outdone, the 1870's were all about detail. Clothing had more ruffles and ruching than I like to think about, so the jewelry had to be busy too, just to show up. Every centimeter of the piece is covered in detail. By 1880, the pendulum finally swung the other way and the Aesthetic movement brought everything briefly back to the basics. But the movement only lasted a few years and heavy chains, diamond earrings and paired gold bangles were being worn with bodices and bustles by the end of the decade. The 90's jewelry is delicate and airy.

Ok, this is getting long. We haven't even talked about maker's marks, assay marks- or the absence of. We'll pick up with those next time. Good night everyone!

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