Cleaning And Storage Tips For Preserving The Beauty Of Your Antique Jewelry

Posted on: 7 January 2015

If you love browsing antique shops and estate sales for one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces, you want to make sure you take excellent care of your precious items once they are in your possession. The appearance of your jewels depends on how you clean and store them. Damage can occur even when you are not wearing the items. Keep in mind the following tips when you add to your collection of vintage estate jewelry.

Cleaning Vintage Items

The last thing you want to do is damage precious jewelry during the cleaning process. If you want to clean jewelry on your own use a lint-free soft cloth, a soft bristle toothbrush and mild soapy water as cleaning agents.

  • Never soak jewelry in the water. Wet the soft cloth and then clean the item.
  • Let jewelry dry in a cool and dust-free area.
  • Use a cotton swab for hard to reach places.
  • Do not use dirty cloths to clean jewelry.
  • Read labels of off-the-shelf jewelry cleaners to make sure they do not contain alcohols, acids or vinegar.
  • Use cleaners that match the jewelry type. Do not use gold cleaning solutions on rhinestones.

For tarnished gold that does not have gems, you can use a solution of two parts water and one part ammonia to clean items. For silver, you can use a paste of baking soda and water.

Pearl, cameo and shell pieces are more fragile than other types of jewelry. Even a paper towel can damage the delicate calcium carbonite surface of coral and shell cameo jewelry. Take these items to a professional jewelry clean so you do not risk damaging them beyond repair.

Storing Antique Jewelry

Storing your jewelry properly can help to maintain the luster of items, clarity of stones and scratch-free surfaces. One of the most important things you can do to protect antique jewelry is store each item separately. When items rub against each other, they can develop scratches or loose stones.

In addition, heed the following guidelines when you store antique jewelry.

  • Place items in velvet pouches before storing them in airtight containers.
  • Keep necklaces, bracelets, beaded jewelry and other items strung on silk flat when you store them. Hanging can stretch silk and fabric threads.
  • Use ring holders to keep rings separate and to protect stones.
  • Do not store jewelry near heating vents and areas that receive a lot of sunlight.

Wearing Vintage Jewelry

When you wear your antique jewelry make sure to take the items off before exposing them to water especially if you are on a tropical vacation. Heat and chlorine are enemies of fine, antique jewelry.

If items do get wet, dry them right away so the moisture does not cause verdigris, the ugly greenish-blue tint that you see on neglected jewelry.

Preparing to Sell

Selling vintage items that you never wear is great way to earn some extra cash quickly. If you have jewelry that you want to sell to an antiques dealer, you want to make sure you get the best price for the item.

First take your jewelry to a certified appraiser to find out the value of your item. You need an unbiased assessment on the worth of your jewelry so you can have realistic expectations when you sell. Reputable appraisers are members of the American Gem Society.

If there are loose stones, broken clasps or other problems with the item, take it to a jewelry repair shop that specializes in vintage pieces.

Lastly, be ready to part with your piece. You may not realize that you have an emotional attachment to an item passed down to you from a relative.

Overall, the best way to keep treasured jewelry in great condition is maintenance when you are not a beloved item. If you heed the care and maintenance tips above, your precious acquisitions will remain in good condition so you can pass them down to future generations.