Vintage and Antique Costume Jewelry

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Vintage costume Jewelry Cleaning Tips

Posted on 25 August 2016

Vintage costume jewelry is delicate and should be cleaned with care. The following are helpful tips I have picked up over the years.

  • Never submerse foil backed rhinestones or cabochons in water. You can use a soft makeup brush or toothbrush and spritz with Windex for shine.
  • If the piece has all unfoiled stones you can dip it in a solution of warm water, 1 tsp. of liquid dish soap and 1 tsp. white vinegar.
  • Only use an ultrasonic cleaner if you are trying to remove stones or cabs with old glue.
  • Simichrome polish works wonders on Miriam Haskell glass pearls, only for pearls that are not peeling. Add a small amount to a soft cloth and polish the pearls.
  • White vinegar will remove verdigris (the green gunk on metal), if possible soak the affected areas, if delicate stones are nearby, use on a q-tip.
  • For heavy verdigris use a dental stimudent or cuticle stick to scrape away as much green as you can.
    • A gold acrylic paint pen will flawlessly touch up gold tone metal wear, especially tiny metal spacer beads and bead caps.
    • Do not store you costume jewelry in plastic bags which can promote moisture.


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