How to Clean Vintage Costume Jewellery.
Costume jewellery is often delicate and requires more careful attention when cleaning. Not unusual to have one item to be made of several different materials. Do make sure your cleaner is suitable for all components.
Before we discuss how to clean your jewellery, it’s important to look what you can and cannot use to clean costume jewellery.
- Avoid using alcohols or acids such as ammonia or vinegar.
- Do not use soap and water to clean costume jewellery as it leaves a residue on the metal.
- Vinegar can be harmful to gemstones and should also be avoided.
- A jewellery cleaner is your best choice. Choose a cleaner that is safe for the type of metal used in your piece. If there are several, choose the cleaner that is safe for the weakest one.
You Will Need:
- Cleaning solution
- Small dish
- Jewellery brush or baby toothbrush (make sure it has soft bristles)
- Soft cloth
The Cleaning Process:
- Begin by finding a well-lit area to work in and gather all your supplies.
- Pour a small amount of cleaning solution into a small dish.
- Dip the soft bristled brush in to the cleaning solution and carefully scrub away any dirt from the jewellery. Do not soak the piece in the solution as it can weaken the adhesives and bonds. Carefully scrub the folds and bends in the pieces as dirt often gets trapped there.
- Use a wooden toothpick to remove any residue that cannot be reached with the brush.
- Rinse carefully with clean water.
- Dry quickly and thoroughly. You may want to lay the piece on a soft cloth and dry it with the hairdryer on a cool air setting.
Additional Tips and Advice
- If you don’t have a jewellery brush, an eyebrow brush will work as long as the bristles are soft. Using any brush with stiff bristles can scratch the jewellery surface.
- If you have a piece that is Pave Set (the stones are glued into the setting), do not immerse the piece in liquid during cleaning.
- Store costume jewellery away from other metal jewellery to avoid scratches. Using small pouches or separate compartments in a jewellery box works well.
- Do not expose costume jewellery to excessive heat as it can break down the bonds