By Danielle Olivia Tefft, Jewelry Writer
Saturday I had the privilege of working the Christmas rummage sale for the local senior center. The shrewd woman in charge knows I can't say "no" when she asks me if I would help set up and then watch over the jewelry table. She also knows that in the process, I will have to purchase my own hoard for the day before the public even walks through the door. I'm always good for a nice chunk of change and she knows it. But I don't mind!
Inevitably, there are pieces of costume jewelry for sale that have missing rhinestones. A man browsing at the table picked up a vintage brooch with two gold-tone birds in a tree branch. It was lovely, but one of the birds was missing its ruby red-colored rhinestone eye and a couple of white rhinestones in its tail feathers.
"That's a lovely brooch, but it will be a project," I said truthfully. The man piped up, "My girlfriend would love this. I'm sure I could find another red stone for the eye and some other stones for the tail." This statement spurred us both on a table-wide search for another piece with the same size rhinestones and complimentary colors. He found it first: A not-as-lovely reindeer brooch with red and white rhinestones of the same size. It, too, was missing stones, but it had enough left to put into his bird brooch. I gave him a deal matching the project ahead of him and figured I was done with it.
"Now how do I go about this?" he asked as I handed him the plastic sandwich bag with the two brooches inside. What a brave fellow to take on a project he knew nothing about for the sake of his girlfriend! Fortunately for him, I've replaced many stones over the years as a consummate costume jewelry collector. Personally, I rarely have the patience for it any more. But, here is what I told him and it will work for you, too, should you have the need to replace rhinestones in an older piece of costume jewelry in which the stones were originally glued in:
1. Select a tray or baking sheet with tall edges upon which to work. The edges are necessary because rhinestones are tiny and they bounce! If one pops onto the floor, you may never find it again. Line the tray with paper napkins, towels or tissues. This stops the rhinestones from rolling around.
2. Get a sewing needle. Sewing needles work well because they are almost flat and can easily be slid along the edges of rhinestones in older pieces to pry them loose. You have to do this patiently and slowly or the rhinestone will pop out into the air and could land outside of your tray or baking sheet.
3. Once you have removed the stone you want to put into another piece, get your "glue" ready. I put that word in parenthesis because you can't use regular glue. It won't last over the long term. You'll just end up losing the replacement stone just like the original that was lost. The best solution is to purchase a small tube of craft cement or epoxy recommended for attaching glass and metal. I like to use G-S Hypo Cement. You can purchase it here: http://www.gshypocement.com/. If you can't purchase this type of cement or epoxy, you can use clear super glue but over time, the bond may not be permanent.
4. Dab a tiny drop of craft epoxy or cement into the empty setting cup. Most craft cement tubes come with a tiny needle in the cap that you can use to dab with. If you don't have one, use a needle. Wait at least ten seconds so that the cement "sets". Then put the replacement stone into the setting. Push the replacement stone firmly into the setting with tweezers. If the craft cement runs over the edges, quickly and carefully wipe the excess away a damp paper towel. Be careful not to wipe the replacement stone away!
5. Let the piece of costume jewelry that you have just replaced the stones in sit undisturbed overnight (about 8 hours).
There you have it! You can also use this procedure to replace glued-in stones that have become yellowed or damaged over time.
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Danielle Olivia Tefft is a professional writer with a lifelong passion for gems, jewelry and fashion. She is a GIA accredited jewelry professional and the owner of online antique and vintage jewelry shop, Treasure Box Antiques. Current projects include ghostwriting jewelry and fashion blogs for clients worldwide. When she is not writing, she spends time in the garden, spoiling her cats and traveling with her fiancé. Would you like to hire her? Visit her website danielleoliviatefftwrites.com for clips, terms and more information.
< a href= "https://plus.google.com/110863166906514645261?rel=author">Danielle Olivia Tefft
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