and Heirloom Jewellery Fine Restoration ... Ethically
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Kerstin Laibach takes
every available measure to restore anitique and heirloom jewellery
as ethically as possible. By using the same techniques and instruments
with which she makes her collections it is nearly always* possible
to restore pieces without deteriment to the environment. Below
is just one example of her work.
A Victorian swivel
brooch completely restored by Kerstin Laibach.
permission of the owner)
This rare heirloom piece above
is approximately 150 years old. On one side is a deguerreotype
photo and on the other a Black Forest carving. The brooch is likely
to have been made in the Black Forest and was coincidently appropriate
that it should be restored by a goldsmith in the exact same region.
Snake adorned jewellery became popular around 1840 when Prince
Albert gave Victoria an engagement ring in the form of a snake
and this decoration remained popular throughout much of Victoria's
PRE-RESTORATION CONDITION OF BROOCH:
Various decorative embellishments had previously broken off from
the piece and had been stuck back with glue. The tail of the snake
was broken and subsequently lost. The closing mechanism was damaged,
worn and therefore inadequate. The inner holding oval ring was
also damaged and flimsy. Dirt had accumulated between the photo
glass plates. The glass had also previously been badly cleaned
and appeared misty.
RESTORATION PROCEDURE by Kerstin
"After assessing various restore options I concluded that
to achieve the best long-term results for such a potentially important
historical piece, it would be necessary to disassemble all parts,
make new and replace missing, broken or worn parts and reassemble
with hard soldering and re-plate.
Being originally assembled using soft solder (a reason why most
decoration had fallen off and was glued back), it was not practicable
to restore broken sections without hard soldering. It therefore
made more sense to restore and replace the parts using hard solder.
This has now provided long-lasting strength to the entire piece.
To restore the surface of the completed restoration, the brooch
has been substantially re-plated with 14ct gold*. I have made
a new snake tail in 9ct gold. I have also made a new closing mechanism
in 9ct gold, which will ensure that such areas where gold plating
would otherwise wear down should enable occasional wear without
detriment to the appearance of the entire piece. The new closing
mechanism (aesthetically made identical to the original) should
also ensure that the brooch can be worn safely without risk of
I dismantled the sandwiched glass of the daguerreotype and carefully
re-polished to restore the original detail of the picture."
* Kerstin Laibach does
not plate her own jewellery creations (further
information here). However,
restoration of old pieces may call for re-plating: On rare
occasions where the base metal of a piece of a restoration piece
is not gold it may be necessary to re-plate (gold-plate)
back to its original finish. On such occasions, the piece is sent
to a dedicated plating company which has the appropriate
plating equipment to coat the piece with the least environmental
impact. Atelier Laibach is currently searching for a plating a
company which uses only recycled gold coating throughout its plating
process. So far there appears to be none in existence.
Worin besteht der Unterschied zwischen recyceltem und neu abgebautem Gold?
and repair service Main Page
of Old, Worn Wedding Rings
more about the ten year threshold / pre-millennium principle
and Restore - Extending a Respect for what our Planet has Provided
in the Past
pieces from your own gathered pebbles