Giving Your Jewellery a Reality Check (Basic Scrutiny)

December 24, 2010

Replacement Glass on Neoclassical Mourning RingYou may not believe it, but if you’ve paid a very high premium from a distinguished and respected dealer, you may not be getting what you think.

No, it’s not a fake or a fraud, but re-enamelling, touching up, replacing glass and doing things which some purists may be alarmed by is quite a typical practice.

I’ve talked with dealers who don’t bat an eyelid and have spoken about selling some primary historical examples but admit to having re-touched them up. I even recall one doing such arbitrary patchwork that would make even Arthur Evans blush.

There are some tell-tale signs, often glass is hard to replicate in the same manner with convex glass, even the glass can be replaced by a plastic.

Sepia re-touching isn’t uncommon, if your sepia looks very crisp, there’s a good chance coloured ink or some paint has been applied. Some things don’t keep well for over 200 years and the ability of a particular dealer to keep finding that amazing piece time and time again can start to make you think.

Are these things wrong? Not at all, they turn some mediocre pieces into much more desirable and marketable ones. That said, I prefer honesty in a piece. If something has been tarnished, flaked, knocked about, I want to know that as a collector. If ever a piece needs to be changed, that’s my decision and I’ll base that on its history and my opinions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: