Antique Jewelry 101: 4 Tips For Cleaning Your Vintage Treasures

Vintage jewelry is unique, elegant, and quite beautiful. However, it's often very delicate as well. While cleaning your antique jewelry pieces might not be the first thing on your mind, they could probably use some cleaning from time-to-time to keep them sparkling.

If you have never cleaned antique jewelry before, it can be difficult. After all, it's fragile and if you use the wrong tools you could easily break or tarnish it. So before you get to cleaning your grandmothers—or any antique—jewelry, make sure you are armed with these four tips:

1. Keep It Dry

Water and moisture dot not mix well with antique jewelry. While a little water is fine for cleaning, you should do your best to keep your vintage jewelry dry. So store them in a soft, dry place. A jewelry case that sits in your bedroom is a good place to store your jewelry, as it probably doesn't have temperature fluctuations or moisture like your bathroom.

If you do use water to clean your jewelry, make sure it is completely dry before you store it. Moisture can easily tarnish the band or loosen the glue that holds the jewels in place. So make sure your antique jewelry is bone dry before you store it.

2. Use The Right Cleaning Products

Sure, you could clean your jewelry with household products. However, that doesn't mean you should. Ideally, you should use a cleaner designed for jewelry. Never use alcohol or acids, as this can completely ruin the jewelry. If you do not have access to one, use a tiny bit of dish soap in warm water. If the jewelry isn't dingy, you can always use a soft cloth or compressed air to remove dust or lint.

3. Heavy Duty Cleaning

If the jewelry is particularly dirty and you need some scrubbing action, use an old toothbrush. A toothbrush is great for getting into small crevices without harming the jewelry. Just gently move the toothbrush across and around the jewelry until it is clean.

Just make sure that are no foiled backings on the jewelry first, as scrubbing action can remove them and possibly the jewel too. You can identify a foil backing by looking at the underside of jewelry. If it's open and has a thin layer of metal, this is the foil backing and you should never scrub at it.

4. Never Apply Cleaner To Jewelry

Finally, make sure that you never apply the cleaner of choice directly to the jewelry. Even if you use a cleanser designed for jewelry, you should apply it to a soft cloth or other cleaning tool first. This will help preserve the jewelry. It will also make cleaning easier.

Although cleaning antique jewelry might seem like a difficult task, it doesn't have to be. With a little patience, the right tools, and this handy list, you will soon be cleaning your old jewelry like a professional. And if you don't want to clean your jewelry yourself, you can always take it to a professional (like those at Morgan Sonsthagen Jewelry Design).