Hello Is Too Often a Formality

As few people really care to be inundated with my historical ramblings, I figured I would create a separate outlet that would be entirely optional for those who know me. For those acquainted with me, you know several things to be solid fact. One of those truths, is that I am a tremendous, self professed, inoperable nerd. Not the sort that ever could have tolerated being shoved in a locker, but one of those closet cases with endless scraps of utterly useless information.

That being said, one of my passions is living history. It was inevitable that one day I would be wholly ensnared in that realm and I must say, I thoroughly enjoy it. It's not necessarily something that I can explain, loquacious as I am known to be. Always have I been mesmerized by history. For as long as I can recall. Even as a child, I would enter an historic location and immediately become hypnotized by the essence yet thriving. It is no different now, and my heart is glad for it. The draw is undeniable and I do succumb.

View you these postings with an open heart and open mind. They are meant merely as a conveyance of my passion for history, connections and experiences.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tip Time! Vulcanite Jewelry and You.

In the realm of reenacting, you come across many resources to better your craft. Or at least, you should be trying to come across many resources to better your craft! Diaries, letters, memoirs, biographies, authentic period handbooks and guides, official battle reports, reenacting websites and blogs, and above all- fellow reenactors. Let's not put all our eggs in the wikipedia basket. (I recently had to make some edits on Sandie's page. Kate Corbin was listed as his second wife *obnoxious scoffing noises*, well, it had to be rectified! Anyway, I digress.)

For my own part, I would like to post this evening about Vulcanite. Vulcanite, also known as Ebonite is a popular material in mourning jewelry. It is composed of hardened rubber and was more cost effective than jet, or even "French Jet" which is actually just black glass. Here, I will impart something I wish someone had told me as soon as I purchased my vulcanite mourning piece. Keep it in a box!!!! For the love of grits, do not leave it exposed to sunlight. Even leaving it on a harmless table in your unsuspecting living room can cause damage. The sunlight will oxidize the material turning it from blackish to a rusty color.

Fear not. As I said, reenacting (if you're blessed) provides great resources and one such resource of mine is a fantastic friend with clever web searching skills! Horridly dismayed by my innocent error, I mentioned it in passing to my friend who provided me with a link to redemption! If your vulcanite piece becomes discolored due to sun exposure, very carefully clean it with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I was skeptical at first, but exercising great caution by wetting the sponge just a bit and then wringing it before gently scrubbing, I got to work. Be soft. Be careful. Be ginger. To my astonishment, it cleaned the piece right up. Ah, but the finishing touch. I applied vegetable oil to a paper towel and gently glazed the piece, allowing the glaze to soak in overnight. GOR-GEOUS. The incredible sheen on the piece restored it to a far better condition than I purchased it in. The piece is estimated to be from the late 1860's-1870's. A pretty, yet peculiar find.

Now... should the unthinkable happen... say... you're taking photos of a delicate piece such as vulcanite and it drops onto the floor breaking off a section- you do not need to be disconsolately sobbing on the ground as if you truly ARE a widow. (Though I would hardly blame you.) I was told by an appraiser upon purchasing the piece that super glue is ill advised (should I be looking to convert it into a brooch) but was told regular old Kindergartner tested, teacher approved Elmer's Glue would do just fine. It holds well enough and does not incur further damage to the vulcanite piece.

If you're too nervous to try this solution on your own precious piece, I completely understand. Do more homework and if you come across a better resource than this blog, that's awesome. You need to be comfortable and content with any action you take regarding treasures you've acquired.

Hopefully, you found this helpful. My best advice regarding vulcanite is to treat it like a Mogwai. (You know, Gizmo from Gremlins).
1. Don't get it wet (it'll smell bad)
2. Don't expose it to sunlight (it will kill it)
3. And don't feed it after midnight

Yours in historical reveling,

Belle Von Saxony

1 comment:

  1. I LOVED this !!!
    Thank you for the helpful tips, I recently bought a GORGEOUS Antique vulcanite chain hair comb with slight browning & needs a good clean.