Fine Jewelry Care

Caring for your vintage and antique jewelry from Stephanie Windsor is crucial to preserving its beauty and ensuring its longevity. Remarkably, some pieces in our collections have endured for centuries. The way we live now is quite different from our predecessors therefore to preserve the quality of vintage and antique jewelry and watches it is imperative to adhere to the proper care instructions tailored to the specific periods of our collections.

To maintain the integrity of your jewelry, we advise avoiding direct contact with cosmetics, fragrances, hairspray, lotions, and chemicals, as well as limiting exposure to water, depending on the piece's construction. Particularly, pieces with closed-back settings, prevalent in the 18th and early 19th Century or Georgian Era, should never be submerged in water due to the risk of damage. Even during hand-washing, caution should be exercised to prevent exposure. Many antique jewelry pieces feature intricate techniques that necessitate special care, and our team is always available to offer further guidance.

We believe well-made jewelry should last multiple lifetimes. You're investing in an heirloom, something to love and then bequeath to a younger generation. 

It's not uncommon for a stone to become loose over time, whether through wear or accidental impact, such as slamming your hand into something—an experience I've encountered many times myself. Our modern lives differ significantly from the era in which your purchase likely originated. Our daily activities, like turning doorknobs and engaging in rigorous work, are far removed from the lifestyle of its 17th to 19th-century caretakers. However, rest assured that we are always available to address any loose stones or replace missing ones as needed.

For open-back stone-set rings and eternity bands, cleaning at home is straightforward and effective. Begin by filling a small bowl with warm, soapy water, then submerge your ring and/or band for 1-2 minutes. Using a small, soft toothbrush, gently brush the stone(s) and setting, paying close attention to the back of the ring and any intricate details prone to collecting dirt. Rinse the ring in soapy water or under a gentle stream of warm water only, then dry it thoroughly with a soft cloth, such as a jewelry cleaning cloth or an optical lens cloth.

Timepiece Care

Many watch collectors often overlook the risks of exposing vintage timepieces to water. Despite their original design intentions for water activities, gasket failures can occur unexpectedly, affecting both vintage and brand-new watches alike. While modern watches can typically undergo part replacements for water damage, the same cannot be said for vintage timepieces, where replacing components like dials and hands can be extremely challenging, if not impossible.

It's crucial to understand that while gaskets effectively repel water droplets, they struggle to prevent water vapor intrusion. Transitioning from air-conditioned environments to humid climates can subject a watch to fluctuations in pressure and temperature, increasing the likelihood of water vapor penetration and resulting in fog under the crystal. In such instances, allow the watch to acclimate naturally, and the vapor should dissipate. Vintage watches produced before 1965 should be handled with caution, particularly on rainy days, and swimming or showering with a new vintage timepiece is strongly discouraged.

Many owners of vintage luxury watches, like Rolex and Cartier, believe that servicing through the original manufacturer guarantees the best results. However, manufacturers often prioritize restoring watches to pristine condition, which may involve replacing patinated dials, crowns, bezels, hands, and crystals. Such interventions can diminish the distinctive features that collectors value, thereby potentially devaluing the timepiece. To preserve the authenticity and value of vintage watches, we collaborate exclusively with trusted watchmakers experienced in servicing vintage pieces, prioritizing functionality and integrity.

If your vintage timepiece seems to lag behind your iPhone, rest assured that this is normal. Mechanical watches, regardless of their brand or price, cannot match the accuracy of digital timekeeping. Vintage timepieces typically maintain accuracy within a range of one to three minutes per day, while older models or those with simpler movements may deviate by four to six minutes. Many movements from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, especially those found in tool and military watches, were designed with relaxed timekeeping standards. Understanding these inherent limitations is essential, and while performance issues in vintage watches should not be ignored, managing expectations is key.