How to Care for your Vintage Jewelry

Now that you have found that perfect piece, how do you ensure that it will last for generations to come? It is important to remember that vintage pieces are just that-vintage-and should be treated delicately. Vintage costume jewelry was never designed to last forever. In many cases, it was designed to last one “season,” and to be tossed aside when trends changed. Keep in mind that the same care should be taken of your fine jewelry as well.

Don’t do “heavy” work when wearing your jewelry-lifting, moving furniture, yard work, etc. These types of activities can cause you to crush or smash your jewelry. Chains and strings may be stretched or broken. Don’t risk irreversible damage to your pieces by subjecting them to stress. Take all jewelry off, and put in a safe place before beginning work.

Don’t subject your jewelry to harsh chemicals. Remove jewelry before using bathroom cleaners, paint, floor cleaners, etc. Chemicals may cause reactions which could damage stones, or corrode metal. Put all makeup, perfume and hairspray on before putting on your jewelry. Don’t rub hand lotions or hand cleaners on over rings or bracelets.

Moisture is your jewelry’s worst enemy. Many of you will shower, swim, or do the dishes wearing your jewelry. Please don’t! Moisture that collects in stone settings may cause the stones to loosen. Additionally, it may cause damage to foiled stones, eventually destroying their sparkly finish. Moisture will also damage strings in beaded items, causing the strings to stretch, weaken, and eventually break.

Items should be stored carefully. Do not layer items, or place items where they are in contact with other items. Stones and metal scratch easily. I prefer to keep my treasures in velvet or velour lined vintage jewelry boxes. They are loaded with compartments of all different sizes to accommodate all types and sizes of jewelry. Be careful not to overcrowd the compartments. You may choose to store in other types of boxes-the important thing is to prevent your pieces from bumping into each other, or hard surfaces. One word of caution-if you are going to store in wooden boxes, be sure they are not made of oak-some experts beleive that emissions from oak may react with the jewelry and cause your items to tarnish.

If you must clean your items, do so carefully with products designed to clean jewelry. A Google search will find you sites where you can purchase Jewelry Joose, Sunshine Polishing Cloths, and Rouge Cloths. Jewelry Joose works great on almost all surfaces. I use this with a Qtip for gentle cleaning. Metals can be polished with the cloths. Caution-don’t use a Rouge cloth on plated metals. They are great for cleaning silver and brass. Plated items may be gently cleaned with a Sunshine cloth. Contact me for further information on purchasing these items if needed.

With proper care, your treasures should last a lifetime, and possibly more!

Please be sure to visit for your vintage jewelry purchases!

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