Vintage and Antique Costume Jewelry

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Cleaning & Care Vintage Jewelry

Posted on 25 November 2014

Vintage jewelry is often delicate and requires special care when cleaning and storing. To prevent pieces in storage from scratching, keep them in a cotton-lined box. Perfume, hairspray, makeup and skin oils are extremely damaging to jewelry, always apply your products prior to putting on your jewelry. A little precaution with your special trinkets can go a long way. Avoid bathing, house-cleaning, gardening and exercising in your jewelry as those are perfect opportunities to lose or damage your special pieces.

Keep an eye on your jewelry. Pay special attention to the settings around your stones. The moment you notice that a stone is loose, take it to your jeweler for repair. Nothing is worse than looking down and noticing that your beautiful stone has been replaced by a large hole. When choosing a jeweler, take care to find one that is familiar with vintage jewelry.


When cleaning your vintage pieces, bear in mind that it is always better to under-clean something than to over-clean it. An item can always be cleaned a second time, but it is difficult to replace broken enamel or a destroyed paste stone. Never allow a jeweler to clean your vintage pieces in an ultrasonic cleaner! The vibrations easily loosen stones and break delicate filigree. You should also be wary of store-bought dip solutions: they contain harsh chemicals that can strip away the beauty of an old piece. To avoid losing a piece down the drain, we recommend using a small jar for your cleaning solution and fresh water. It is not uncommon to have dirt and grime be the only thing holding the stone into an old setting, so keep your eyes open while cleaning. It is better to have a stone come loose in a controlled environment than when you’re not expecting it!

Please keep in mind that each piece of vintage jewelry is different, requiring various ways of cleaning. The guidelines above are just that and are not guarantees.


If you are in doubt about how to clean your jewelry, you may always contact us.

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