“The Missing Link” restoration of an Edwardian Platinum Necklace
This brooch and chain had been handed down in the family and had quite a history. They had been passed down to a descendant of the original owner. The two items were a lady’s handmade 10% iridium Platinum Edwardian filigree brooch designed in a garland motif, (circa 1920) that was set, in bright cut settings with twenty old European brilliant cut diamonds and an Edwardian filigree platinum and diamond necklace. It was a chain that was composed of 6 bezel-set old European-cut diamonds separated by a series of handmade filigree links.
There was a third item as well. It was a miniature painting, a tiny masterpiece executed on ivory and mounted in a 14 Karat gold frame. It has been painted in minute detail. It was a portrait of the original owner wearing a necklace made of the platinum brooch and chain.
Originally the brooch and chain had been one piece of jewelry and had been a lavalier.
A lavalier is the type of pendant popularized in the late 17th century by the Duchess de la Valliere, a mistress of King Louis the XIV of France. The name was eventually shortened to “lavalier(e)”. The lavalier is distinguished from other types of pendants by a center drop (usually a stone) which is directly attached to the chain without a bail or removable connection device. These were very popular in the beginning of the 20th Century but in time fell out of favor.
At some point, due to the changing fashions, someone in the family had separated the components. The pendant portion had been fitted with a 14 karat gold pin stem and catch to convert it into a brooch. The chain portion was connected together to become one long separate piece to be worn without the pendant. Part of the original piece, the part that had linked the two together had gone completely missing. The current owner decided to have us restore the piece and reconnect the two remaining parts by recreating the missing link.
We normally prefer that the extent of any restoration to be minimal to avoid clouding the view of the original work, and damage historical significance. We decided in this case we could in fact; undertake a historical restoration of this piece because we were fortunate enough to have in our possession the original document. It clearly illustrated the piece as it was in the past. There was no question of accuracy.
This restoration involved using authentic period details, materials, tools and techniques and extensive research. Our goal was to preserve all the work that was still good, repair or restore what is missing and broken so it would blend seamlessly with the original and re-create the appropriate patinas and surfaces so the new work would be difficult if not impossible to detect.
We made the decision to make an addition to the original mounting by recreating the missing component that originally connected the chain to the lower part of the lavalier extending and lengthening the piece with the addition of a recreated platinum link to be attached at the top. The new piece had to match the original, in order to accommodate this we had to source an antique diamond.
We found the correct stone and created the missing link in platinum.