A collection or piece of antique jewelry is a worthwhile investment. Antique jewelry is gorgeous and unique. Antique and older jewelry typically require special care that modern jewelry might not need. Check out this guide to learn how to store and care for antique jewelry.
Regular cleaning is important to keep your antiques shining and looking good. While all jewelry can benefit from periodic cleaning, antiques need this treatment to stay intact for the decades to come. To start, use a magnifying glass to check your items for loose stones and deep dirt. If you find loose stones, you may want to cease the cleaning process and take your piece to a trusted antique jeweler to have the settings tightened.
If you don’t have any stone settings loose, then you can make a solution of water and a few drops of dish detergent, window cleaner, or a specially-made jewelry foam such as Lavish to clean your antique jewelry surfaces. Dip a soft-bristled new baby toothbrush into the solution and gently rub it onto the jewelry. Let the solution sit on the surface for between 30 seconds and one minute, then gently wash it off. Make sure you are using warm water that’s neither too hot nor too cold, as extreme temperatures can harm your jewelry. Dry the jewelry on a paper towel or soft cloth, taking special care not to snag it on the prongs.
Pro Tips: Do not use an old toothbrush, as the leftover toothpaste can scratch your antique jewelry. Avoid scrubbing too hard, as it can damage the delicate metal or the stones. Do not soak or use water solutions on any strung necklaces, such as pearls. Only use a soft cloth to gently wipe clean any pearl or strung necklaces.
Visit Your Jeweler
While dish detergent and warm water is the best homemade jewelry cleaner, there’s no substitute for visiting your jeweler for a cleaning.
Unless your gem is red, white, or blue (specifically rubies, diamonds, and sapphires), you should skip a DIY cleaning entirely. Many other gemstones have fickle properties that require specific care. Your jeweler will know the proper care and cleaning procedures depending on a piece’s specific gemstone and type of metal, and they can check the item over for any damage beforehand as well.
Storing Antique Jewelry
When storing your antique jewelry items, you should aim to keep them protected in a breathable location. Consider placing each item into a soft pouch or on top of a soft cloth inside a jewelry box. Keep the jewelry box in a room with a moderate temperature and try to limit the humidity and moisture in the room. Dehumidifiers are a great option for rooms that tend to get too humid or hold too much moisture for the safekeeping of your antiques.
Pro Tip: Do not store silver jewelry in the same drawer or pouch as gold items, as the tarnish can easily transfer.
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