How To Clean Your Antique and Vintage Jewelry
The vintage and antique jewelry that we sell here at Luna & Stella has withstood the test of time, in some cases over 150 years and beyond! Maybe you are already a jewelry cleaning fiend (like me) or maybe you have never thought of it before. Let me tell you, once you get used to having clean jewelry, you will wonder why you haven't always done it! I get a lot of compliments on my jewelry and the main reason is because it is always very clean, so people notice its shine. Dull metals and gemstones make me sad...
Aside from the obvious benefit of having your jewelry look it's best, there are a few very important things you can do to ensure these heirloom quality pieces remain in great condition and last for generations to come. We will go over them here, take notes!
(Psst: These techniques are all safe and effective on contemporary jewelry too!)
The Don'ts List
We know that you love your jewelry and often times it has sentimental value and you never want to take it off right? Wrong! It is not wise to wear your pieces 24/7. I have little jewelry dishes scattered all around my home so that I can store my treasures without worry of them getting lost if I need to wash my hands, cook dinner etc. In fact, I don't even really wear my jewelry at all when I am inside my home (yes, I am a little on the fanatical side, but you get the point.)
Please remove your beautiful vintage and antique jewelry for any of the following activities:
- Cleaning (think household cleaners, NOT safe for your antique and vintage jewelry)
- Washing your hands (of course this really pertains to rings and may sound a little bit unrealistic to you, I get it. However, no word of a lie, I take all my rings off every time I wash my hands (which is A LOT these days) and my rings stay in beautiful condition and need cleaning less often than when I am lazy about removing them.)
NOTE: One time, at a trade show in Las Vegas, I removed my BELOVED cameo ring, set it on the sink of a public bathroom to wash my hands and forgot it. Needless to say, it was gone when I went back for it. If the message wasn't clear, don't do that... I'm not crying, you're crying...
- Working out/Sports (or any activity where you will be sweating, or crashing into things for that matter)
- Cooking (Fruit juices, foods with high acidity and just general grease are all not good for your jewelry)
- Sleeping (Another one where you may be thinking, are you kidding? No, I am not. Sleeping in your jewelry is one of the most common ways to lose stones, wear down prongs and break necklace and bracelet clasps among other things. While you rest, let your jewelry rest too)
- Swimming (Salt water and chlorine are both harmful for your vintage and antique jewelry. Don't even get me started on jewelry at the beach!)
- Applying beauty products (This includes hands soaps, lotions, deodorants, perfumes, hairspray and dry shampoos)
Okay that is a lot of don'ts. But unfortunately, all of the above contribute to the breakdown of your jewelry over time. In addition to avoiding these activities, there are a few things you can do to proactively protect your precious vintage and antique pieces and ensure they live long and happy lives for many more years to come.
The Do's List:
*A note of caution when using any sort of cleaning techniques on your vintage and antique jewelry: Make sure all stones and prongs are secure before cleaning. You can do this by taking something small (a pin or even your finger nail works) and gently confirming that nothing is loose.
-Polish your jewelry regularly (every few weeks) using a soft jewelry cloth. These can be found at most any jewelry store or online, the type we use here in the studio are Sunshine Polishing Cloths.
-As needed, for particularly stubborn tarnish or other grime, I prefer Lavish Foaming Jewelry Cleanser and the soft brush that is provided with it. This is a foaming cleanser that just sits and foams on top of your pieces and gently foams the filth away! The directions say 10-30 seconds and you can repeat if necessary. Once you are satisfied, give the piece a rinse with water and dry thoroughly. (See video below). It is super gentle and effective and easy to use.
Another option if you don't have any Lavish on hand is to soak your pieces in warm water with a touch of dish soap. After a nice soak, about 15 minutes, use a soft toothbrush and gently scrub away the grime.
CAUTION LOCKET OWNERS! Do not submerge your lockets in water unless there is nothing inside that could be damaged. I personally have photographs and original backing papers inside mine which I would not want to get wet. This is another reason why Lavish is such a dream.
Check out the below video for visual step by step instruction:
Thank you for watching. Please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!
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