Inside the conservation lab: Replacing a missing diamond

Sep 8, 2014

In addition to a growing costume jewelry collection, Historic New England preserves many examples of fine jewelry. This necklace, a family piece from Phillips House in Salem, Massachusetts, is a great example of luxurious Art Deco jewelry. The carved jade plaque hangs from a platinum and pavé-set diamond bail. 

Until recently, the necklace was in perfect condition, with one exception: one tiny diamond was missing.

Rather than replace the diamond and potentially cause confusion about what is new and what is old, our conservation staff filled the gap with a mixture of adhesive, fumed silica (to add bulk) and mica powder (to add color and sparkle). The missing diamond is now less noticeable and the adhesive is removable in case opinions about the necklace’s appearance change. 

Read more about conservation projects at Historic New England.