Restoring the Family Jewels

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Many months ago I was given some old necklaces and beads by my Mother in Law who thought I would be able to make use of them in my jewellery making. One particular piece caught my eye and after a bit of google research I discovered that it was a genuine 1940's vintage crystal necklace. Even in it's very broken and dirty state I could see it's beauty and last week after many months of looking at it, I took the plunge and decided to restore it. Here are the "before" pictures, one layer had already been removed by me before these were taken as the thread was so frayed I was worried I might lose some of the beads.
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I started by removing each tier of beads and soaking them in a very weak and warm soapy solution for about an hour andthen using a bit of damp wool on a beading needle I cleaned the dirt from the inside of each bead and cleaned the outside of each one with a soft bristled brush. Once the beads were dry I reworked the pattern from the photographs I had taken and laid them out on a bead board ready for restringing.
Each layer was restrung onto nymo thread and I re-made the decorative end sections with beaded wrapped loops andre-made the extension chain and clasp. Throughout the process I tried to keep as much as possible to the orignal design and was very pleased with the results....
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This gorgeous piece will now stay in my family and will most likely to be given to my daughter when she is old enough. I am hoping the job I have done will keep the necklace going for another 70 years. 
Here is a before and after shot side by side.
crystal necklace restoration

If you have a piece of old jewellery which is in need of some tlc is really is worth looking into getting it restored, especially with the resurgance in vintage designs. I'm no expert I just did the best job I could, with the knowledge I have.

Since restoring this piece I have made a reproduction of it which is available to buy in my shop here




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  1. Angie Sey

    You have given it a new lease of life Dawn! Brilliant! X

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  2. Claire O'Reilly

    Thats fab Dawn - very impressive. Isabelle is a very lucky girl!

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