Store & handle
Costume and jewelry often bring together different kinds of materials: glass beads on fibrous string, or coins on cloth. Often, these different materials create a wonderful visual effect, but represent a difficulty for conservation in the long run. The long-term treatment of these different materials do not always go well together, and the storage or preservation of these objects can sometimes seems like an impossible undertaking.
For instance, the metal of coins may corrode the surface of a textile and the sharp edges of glass beads may cut through fibrous thread. Sometimes, repairs or conservation is inevitable with this combination of materials. For me however, it is exactly this combination that makes the value of an object: I especially like the crowded surface of a textile decorated with amulets.
When handling these object, the most fragile material should be leading in conservation measures. So, most of the time, it will be the less endurable materials that dictate the rules for conservation. A few general rules do apply: 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 at 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 regularly. Use cloth gloves, especially 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 two images below left I have added some pictures taken in Jordan and Egypt of bad, but illustrative, examples of storage.