Geneology in Silver-Restoring a Family Bracelet

September 15th, 2011 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG

Family Bracelet Before Restoration

Wife Kaye recently worked with a local family to renovate this heirloom bracelet, composed of sterling silver panels, strung on a ribbon, each hand engraved with the initials of a family member. Judging by the style, the bracelet probably was started around the late 1800’s or so– the most recent person on the bracelet was a grandmother.

After close inspection, Kaye discovered the original ribbon was velvet with all the nap worn off. She couldn’t find velvet ribbon, but after some searching, was able to find a nice sturdy ribbon that was similar in dimension and color to the original.

With a little silver cream and some elbow grease, the silver came to life! Add the new clasp and voila, a wearable heirloom! Kaye’s client was thrilled.

Note that although the panels had significant differences in style, indicating different manufacturer and perhaps period, they were all designed to fit the same dimension of ribbon. The obvious differences in the initials show the different hand and skill of the various hand engravers who contributed to the bracelet. We thought it very interesting how this wonderful object records the family history, a progression of jewelry makers and craftsmen, and the passage of time.

If anyone has information about this type of bracelet, we’d love to hear from you– Just email or post in comments!

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