Planning an Heirloom Piece? These Tips Will Help...
Creating a piece of heirloom jewelry - one that's intended to be passed from generation to generation - can be a real thrill. Keep the following pointers in mind, and the result will be a piece of jewelry that your descendants will be proud to wear, perhaps hundreds of years into the future.
- Have a story in mind. To whom will the piece be passed on? On what occasion, or for what reason? Will it be worn only on special occasions, or every day?
- Listen to your jeweler. He or she will know which materials will last longest and which design concepts will work best, and can show you photos or actual pieces that will give you a better idea of what you want.
- Keep the design basic, versatile and timeless. Avoid trendy concepts such as highly stylized designs or odd combinations of stones. Instead, create a piece that would become any wearer, regardless of her age, size, coloring or tastes.
- Stick to high-quality, durable materials. Eighteen-karat gold or platinum are usually the best choices, because they wear well, require relatively little maintenance, and look good on anyone. Sturdy stones, such as diamonds, rubies, sapphires and topaz, are usually preferable to more fragile, harder-to-clean stones, such as emeralds, pearls, zircons and opals.
- Make sure that the piece is structurally sound, and won't require frequent repairs and remountings.
- It's usually OK to re-use old stones, but avoid re-using gold from old pieces. The alloy mixes might not prove suitable, and the refining and recasting expenses can be high.
- Work closely with your jeweler throughout the consultation and design processes. Then, be patient during production process.
- Ask your jeweler to write down instructions for cleaning and storing the piece, so that your great-great-grandchildren will have them.
- Have the piece insured.
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