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Restoring costume jewelry


#1

Dear Orchidians,

I have a Coro costume jewelry brooch that has high sentimental
value. It is rhinestone and metal, plated with some shiny white
metal.

The brooch is round, with 2 concentric circles of rhinestones;
across the middle from side to side, is a sort of stylized ribbon of
metal. The plating on the ribbon bit has flaked off. I want to
restore this finish, presumably by plating. The place I took it to
said they wouldn’t do it because the rhinestones, glued in, would
fall out. I accepted this and went away discoouraged. So, I guess I
have some questions:

  • Is plating the only way to put a new shiny finish on the metal?

  • If not, is there a way to remove the rhinestones before plating?
    And what kind of glue would I use to reset them?

Thanks a bunch,
Christine in Littleton Ma


#2

Hello Christine,

The rhinestone will come off your piece of jewelry by simply putting
it in a ultrasonic cleaner with a little bit of ammonia. Besure to
use a basket and the rhinestones will float or fall off really easy.

After the stone are removed, very carefully with a small bur by
hand, twist to remove the old glue. In the olden days the stone were
put inplace and then glue was flooded over the stones. You can have
the plating replaced and then replace the rhinestones by gluing them
back in. If you can’t find someone to replate the metal, then use
Silver Leaf or Gold Leaf, let it dry and seal it before replacing the
stone. I refurbish costume jewelry and creating sterling silver
pieces.

Veva Bailey