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Modernizing vintage jewelry

I’m just getting into cleaning, polishing, modernizing and
converting vintage jewelry

My goal is to convert pins to pendants for chains and convert clip-on
and screw back earrings to a pierced design. My guess is that I’ll
need (1) A home cleaning system (2) Tools and a glue-removing
solvent (if one is available that is stone and mounting-friendly) to
remove old hardware; and (3) Home use soldering equipment and
supplies (4) Hardware to solder onto backs of mountings to convert
from pin to pendent; and (5) Information sheets regarding the above.
Please provide recommendations Thank you very much for your help.

You might consider that vintage jewelry, like other antiques, is
more artistically and fiscally valuable without drastic changes.
Making a mounting that will accept a pin and yet hang from a chain
preserves the original style while making the piece wearable in a
new way. You may seriously regret the changes you’re contemplating!


Dear Darcy, Salvaging quality old jewelry is one of my passions. I am
currently converting a diamond and platinum watch into a pendant and
earrings. I have finished the earrings…they are a stunning art
deco’ design made by sawing off the lug portions of the case. The
remaining case section is being devoted to a pendant in which I am
setting an emerald cut siberian amethyst.

While I wouldn’t want to discourage you, I might suggest that you
try to stick with durable metals such as silver and gold. Costume
jewelry is usually made of low temperature alloys which pose
soldering problems. Furthermore, the glue-on stones are usually foil
backs which lose the foil when removed.

Otherwise, you will probably find yourself needing the usual
assortment of tools that go with jewelry making. Some of the supply
houses will sell you a basic assortment for an affordable price. A
small ultrasonic will be needed, but you will find that they can be
hard on costume jewelry. Have fun and tread lightly.

Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA.