Sterling Silver Dresser Sets
Sterling silver dresser sets include mirrors, combs, brushes, Powder Jars, and ACCESSORIES
Sterling silver dresser sets can be repaired, restored and polished. At one time a dresser set would be de rigueur for every ladies dressing table. They came in both sterling silver and silverplate manufactured for every price range. Now they are all 60 to over 150 years old with dents and wear. Repair and restoration of silver dresser sets can be a Pandora's Box of problems.
Replacing the comb in a sterling silver fitter is a relatively easy restoration. The new plastic combs are available in a tortoiseshell colored plastic in a variety of sizes but must be custom fit to the sterling silver fitter for optimal fit. Since each sterling silver comb is different this takes time and patience but the results look great. If the sterling silver comb holder is splitting along the seam it can be repaired with silver solder. Please don't wait till it comes apart into two pieces. Repairing a split in the seam is much easier that trying to put two halves back together.
Gold Comb fitter with comb replaced and Sterling Silver Comb Fitter repaired.
The gold comb fitter is very unusual (top comb above photo.) In this example the comb was replaced.
The sterling silver comb fitter required extensive repair (lower comb above photo.) It arrived with extremely large rivet holes and reduced width from a poorly done repair. I closed down the holes to a more standard size by soldering in sterling silver tubing and replaced the comb.
Dresser sets often had decorative glass jars with sterling lids. Often referred to as powder jars they came in all shapes and sizes in a wide variety of patterns. The lids are often dented, creased, crushed suffering a hard life. Generally, all the dents can be removed with great skill and patience. The dents need to be carefully pushed out from the inside and burnished on the outside. Click here to see each of these lids more closely. I was able to restore these lids to close to perfection and preserve the gold plating on the inside.
Sterling silver brushes
New brushes for sterling silver fitters are available. If the brush needs to be replaced, it takes several weeks to months and an investment into $100's of dollars. First the brush has to be removed from the sterling silver fitter. A new brush is custom made to fit the sterling silver brush holder, and then it needs to be reset.
If I can just polish the sterling fitter, and leave the brush "as is" it will save you a lot of money.
Dresser set Accessories
files, button hooks, cuticle knives
Restoration of dresser set accessories like button hooks, cuticle knives and files are extremely limited. In this situation the client provided extra parts from orphan pieces (upper left group) so that that these three pieces (center) could be restored.
Sterling Silver Mirrors
Sterling silver hand mirrors present unique issues.
Polishing the sterling silver mirror holder is not a problem. Great care is taken to polish only the sterling silver hand mirror frame lightly to preserve the pattern and details.
Old mirrors always look much better (in my opinion.) The old mirror can be removed from the sterling silver fitter, and resilvered with all the ghosts, imperfections and character of time. This is my recommendation. New mirrors look too perfect and inauthentic.
New mirrors costs $100's+ just for the mirror (plus all the time for talking out and putting in the mirror.) Historically the mirror is beveled which is another expense. This is all hand work. There is no such thing as ready made replacement parts.
There are three types of bezels holding the mirrors in the frame. This one (shown left) is simply pressure fit so that the mirror has to fit exactly right. I mean exactly, exactly, exactly. If the mirror is broken save the pieces. It can be used as a pattern for the new mirror.
The other kinds of bezels are very thin with an edge that fits right under the front edge of the sterling silver frame. Taking it in and out is super tricky. Do not do this yourself. If the bezel is kinked, it doesn't fit correctly.