Every once in a while, we have the opportunity to work on a restoration job that truly challenges Lawrence’s skills as a silversmith. A few months back, a client walked in with the most amazing Tiffany & Co. sterling silver basket…
…and it was completely squashed. Our poor client relayed that the basket, which had been in her family for decades and held both sentimental and collector’s value, had been damaged during a move and she wanted to know if it was at all possible to restore its original integrity.
Our team reviewed the basket and assessed the damage. It was definitely going to be a test of Lawrence’s skills (and take a lot of time), but the client felt that the quality and sentimental value of the piece justified its restoration. We agreed, and got to work.
Lawrence started by carefully pushing out the severely dented base and then had to meticulously hammer out the bowl to make it even again. By carefully applying heat and hammers, he was able to reshape the bent base of the basket and tailor the edge to create an even line once more.
The handle also required some attention to make it functional again, so he re-worked the hinges of the basket and straightened the handle so that it swings up (and stays up, if you want) and down once more.
Finally, the entire basket needed to be completely pickled and polished in order to remove as much heat scale from the repair as possible. (Heat scale is an effect on silver that slightly alters its tone. It’s very difficult to remove and very common in any repair job, unfortunately.)
The basket turned out beautifully, in our opinion, and our client was thrilled with the result. While jobs like these aren’t necessarily the most glamorous in terms of process, they are absolutely some of the most satisfying to produce.
Do you have an item that you think is beyond repair? Make an appointment with us and we’ll walk you through the possibilities. You may be surprised at what we can do!
Alexandria & Company is an Old Town-based workshop and design studio specializing in creating and restoring fine jewelry and silver hollowware. They are the in-the-know jewelers of Alexandria and have been serving clients out of their small workshop for decades. Tucked in their historic building on South Royal Street, the team at Alx&Co. brings a personalized, modern approach to their craft – this is not your average stodgy jeweler or antique shop. Visit them during their walk-in hours or online to view their collection of handmade fine jewelry or to drop off a repair project; or, if you’re feeling creative, make an appointment to talk about that custom design project you’ve been imagining.
121-B South Royal Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Design Studio Walk-In Hours (all jewelry services): Wednesday – Saturday 12-6pm
Silver Workshop Walk-In Hours (all silver repair and restoration services): Wednesday or Friday 12-6pm, or by appointment
Appointments encouraged for custom design.