How to take care of your vintage jewellery
We all love vintage and antique jewellery for it’s irresistible romance, pretty patinas and unique authenticity. But with that inherent beauty can come many decades of dirt and grime. Knowing the important do’s and don’ts when taking care of your jewellery is imperative to keep it looking its best and maximise the longevity of each piece in your collection.
Arguably, protecting your jewellery from dirt and damage in the first place is the most effective thing you can do. So what are the things to avoid, and some helpful tips to bear in mind?
Allowing your jewellery to sit in water
Moisture can be harmful to vintage jewellery, and pieces that feature softer stones such as pearls or opals can be particularly vulnerable. It’s best to remove any pieces before bathing or swimming, especially when going into the sea. Likewise when it comes to cleaning, a damp cloth will usually do the trick, but if you do need to completely submerge your jewellery in liquid, make sure it's a quick dip rather than a soak. Either way, take extra care in drying off any moisture before placing in a safe and soft place.
Spring cleaning in your vintage jewellery
In the same way you would not want to use harsh chemicals when cleaning your jewellery, be sure to remove your vintage items when handling detergents and cleaning agents around the house. It is often the day to day exposure to these products that can causes gradual decay and damage over time.
Wearing jewellery while spritzing and preening
Perfume, hand creams, body lotions, hair spray. Whilst for many of us these products feature daily in our routines, contact with them can be detrimental for our jewellery. Making the small adjustment of putting your vintage pieces on after applying any lotions and potions will help to minimise damage and reduce the build up of gunk in and around vintage items.
Use a gentle cleaning solution
Even specific products marketed for jewellery cleansing can be harsh, some even containing ammonia. We would recommend making up a weak solution of luke warm water and a small amount of a gentle detergent (one you wouldn’t mind using on your skin or dishes). Before using the solution, dust of any residues with a dry soft lint free cloth. Then using a soft toothbrush, begin cleaning with a circular motion, focusing on any areas that might be prone to picking up dirt such as around clasps, prongs, and underneath stones. Take care to maintain a light pressure when cleaning, and for any stubborn areas it is best to repeat the process. Once you are happy, carefully rinse any solution and dry thoroughly with a soft clean cloth.
Appreciate that different metals and gems require different care
Not all vintage jewellery should be treated equally when it comes to cleaning. The effect a cleaning solution can have on one precious metal will be different to another due to chemical compositions. If your gems are lack-lustre, some will be back to their brilliant shiny selves with a gentle polishing, others may require a professional touch, but sometimes the best thing you can do is simply wear your jewellery to restore its lustre.
If you are unsure about the best way to clean your jewellery, call on the help of a professional who will be able to advise you on the correct way to care for your item.
Embrace the imperfections that come with vintage jewellery
As much as you want to take care of your vintage investments, it’s important to embrace the charm of the imperfections that come along with these special items. A small scratch here or a little dink there; these are the things that tell the story that comes with shopping vintage.
If you need any direction or advice about taking care of your vintage jewellery collection, just get in touch here and we would be happy to help.