Costume and jewelry often bring together different kinds of materials: glass beads on fibrous string for example, or coins on cloth. Often these different materials create a wonderful visual effect, but represent a difficulty in the long run. These differences do not always go together easily and storage or preservation of these objects sometimes seems an impossible undertaking.
The metal of coins may corrode the surface of a textile and glass beads may cut through fibrous thread. Sometimes repairs or conservation is inevitable with this kind of combination of materials. For us it is exactly this combination that makes the value of an object: we especially like the crowded surface of a textile decorated with amulets. imagine the surprising effects it will bring when a small silver cap is lifted off a textile tassel amulet and underneath the cap, almost hidden, there is a piece of intricate beadwork attached!
When handling these object the most fragile material will be leading in the conservation measures. So, most of the time, it will be the less endurable materials dictating the rules of conservation. A few general rules: cloth and beadwork should not be folded; it is better to keep it as flat as possible or rolled around a core. Cloth is best preserved at minus 40°C with a steady temperature. Avoid moisture, daylight and use acid free paper for storage of textile and fiber.
Keep moths and insects away and air textiles occasionally. Use cloth gloves when handling antique textiles or other less durable materials. With silver or other metals: avoid friction of the objects against each other. For more tips on beadwork, please check: www.ancientbeadwork.com
On the left we have added some pictures taken in Jordan and Egypt of bad, but illustrative, examples of storage.