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JEWELRY & TIMEPIECE CARE

Taking care of your vintage and antique jewelry from Stephanie Windsor will only enhance its beauty but can also extend its lifespan. Some of our collection has lived for literally centuries but our modern lives are very different from our historic predecessors and we must be mindful of the do’s and don’ts of fine jewelry from the periods we collect from. 

Please avoid direct contact to cosmetics, fragrance, hairspray, lotions and chemicals and depending on the pieces construction, water. Remember many of our oldest pieces may have closed back settings and therefore they should never be submerged in water, for example, closed back and foil-backed jewelry were popular in the 18th and early 19th Century or Georgian Era they should never be exposed to water even in the short course of hand-washing. Many of the spectacular techniques found in antique jewelry require special care and we are always here to advise you further. 

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 come loose over time or as I have done many times by slamming my hand into something. Our lives are busy and very different from the era your purchase is likely from. Our lifestyles include daily practices like turning a doorknob and moving and working hard unlike its 17-19th Century caretakers but we’re always here to tighten loose stones or if needed replace a missing stone. 

Open back stone set rings and eternity bands are durable enough to be cleaned quickly and easily at home. Fill a small bowl with warm, soapy water and submerge your ring and/or band for 1-2 minutes. Using a small and very soft toothbrush, gently brush the stone(s) and setting, paying special attention to the back of the ring and any details in the setting that might be prone to collecting grime. Dip the ring in the soapy water to rinse, or rinse under a gentle stream of warm water ONLY. Dry with a soft cloth, such as a jewelry cleaning cloth or an optical lens cloth. 

 

TIMEPIECE CARE

Many watch collectors don’t think twice about exposing vintage timepieces to water. But the truth is that while many vintage watches were designed for water activities, gasket failures can happen at any time, this can happen to brand new watches as well. Water damaged to parts such as a dial and handset can easily be replaced on a modern watch, replacing these on a vintage timepiece can be very hard, if not impossible. It’s also important to remember that gaskets are great at keeping out water droplets but they truly struggle with keeping out water vapor.  Also walking from an air-conditioned environment into the sweltering humid heat exposes a watch to changes in pressure and temperature, it makes it easier for water molecules to sneak in, leading to the possibility of fog under the crystal. Don’t panic; let the watch acclimate and the vapor should dissipate. If your vintage watch was produced before 1965, think twice about wearing it on a rainy day. please no swimming or showering with your new vintage timepiece.

Many owners of vintage pieces from luxury brands such as Rolex and Cartier think that sending their piece to the original manufacture is the best and only way to ensure proper servicing. While these manufactures are certainly capable of this work, they have a high standard for perfection – however a patinated dial is usually seen as “worn” and will often be replaced, along with crowns, bezels, hands and crystals. Manufactures are also known to polish cases that have scratches or wear marks. For collectors of vintage watches, it is exactly these features that makes watches desirable and valuable, meaning that a service by the watch’s manufacture can actually devalue a vintage timepiece. To avoid this, we only work with a trusted watchmakers that are familiar with working on vintage watches, maintaining functionality and integrity.

So you say that your vintage timepiece is not keeping exact time with your iPhone? There’s an answer for that, no mechanical watch will ever, regardless of the maker or its price tag, be as accurate as a digital clock. Mechanical watches, by their very nature, are as accurate as their design allows them to be. You should expect your vintage timepiece to be accurate to a minute or three a day, whereas older watches and those with simpler, less-accurate movements may operate four to six minutes fast or slow. In fact, many movements from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, especially those found in tool and military watches, were designed with relaxed timekeeping standards. One should not ignore poor performance in your vintage watch, but expectations are paramount.