Saturday, January 18, 2014

Restoring a Family Heirloom

When a friend and long-time jewelry client approached me with a broken family heirloom — a beautiful antique signet ring — I'll admit I was intimidated at first, and for many reasons:

1. The piece had sentimental value.
2. It looked delicate and frail.
3. It was broken in not one, but two places.
4. It was GOLD. As a rule, I never work with gold. Gold intimidates me and it's so costly.

But for some reason, I said yes to the project. Perhaps because she is a friend. Perhaps because I looked at it as a new challenge and a way to break out of my comfort zone. And perhaps also because she told me she would not be devastated if something horrible happened to the ring (i.e., if I accidentally melted it).

This is because the ring's history within her family is a bit fuzzy – the signet ring may have belonged to a great uncle or possibly an aunt. The S seal doesn't match up with any of the family member's last names, therefore its previous owner is unclear. Strangely enough, S is my friend's first name and married name initial so it has now found its rightful owner as far as I'm concerned.

The ring was found in a jewelry box long after anyone familiar with its origins was alive to tell its story. Hopefully now, after some solid restoration work at my soldering bench, it will live on to tell a new story to future generations.

No comments: