Every once in a while, however, a piece comes across my bench that is absolutely world-class and stunning, either due to its value, the materials it is made from, who made it, or the time-period from which it originates. These are the pieces worth taking the time to stop and appreciate, study their construction, and marvel at the technical and design challenges the original maker or makers had to overcome to create such a beautiful work of artistry. Then, of course, comes the challenging and rewarding task of completing the requested repair work or modification with a high enough degree of precision and skill to preserve the piece structurally and aesthetically, regardless of how simple or basic the required task may be.
This piece is an Edwardian gold brooch with 1 4.35mm Old European-Cut diamond, 82 1.1-2mm OEC diamonds, blue transparent leaded-enamel, and 14 2mm pearls, with an approximate declared value of $13,000. The Edwardian period spans from 1901-1915, and is defined by the reign of the king of England, Edward VII (1901-1910), and was the final jewelry period to be defined by a British monarch. Jewelers who rejected the Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts styles took their inspiration from traditional 18th-century jewelry, often using the guirlande form, or decorative hanging ornament such as a wreathe or bouquet of flowers. It was purchased in England as an estate piece, but the client never wore it due to it being a heavy brooch and very delicate. The client brought in a gold fashion chain that she owned and requested that the pin-stem and catch be removed and the brooch converted into a pendant that could be removed from the chain so that the chain could be worn by itself if the client so desired.
Edwardian Brooch (Front)
Edwardian Brooch (Back)
This is a very straightforward and easy repair, being that the shop I work in has a laser welder, which is perfect for welding on 2 14k yellow gold necklace slide bars onto the back of the brooch. The pin stem was carefully removed and the resulting rough areas were smoothed out and lightly polished by hand to blend in with the rest of the brooch. Attachment points for the bars were chosen based on the strongest points on the brooch based on how it was constructed and the size needed to allow the widest portion of the necklace and the thicker clasp ends to pass through. Once this was determined, the bars were made from 16 gauge wire and welded into place, the joints were burnished and shined up with a fine wire wheel, and the piece was cleaned lightly, with no ultrasonic or steamer being used to protect the fragile enamel, which was already broken and cracked in several places.
Chain Slide Bars Installed
Brooch on Chain
The completed Repair