How to Clean Vintage Costume Jewelry
If you are like me and love high-quality vintage costume jewelry as much as fine jewelry this guide is for you. I like my vintage costume jewelry sparkling like this:
As Salvador Dali put it, it’s not the material that creates value. Design and workmanship are just as important. It’s not difficult to care for your precious impostors.
So you hit the jackpot and have tons of new goodies or your precious faux gems have spent some time in the jewelry box and don’t look their best. Do not fret! Here is a how to bring those beauties to the most sparkly state.
How do you clean Costume Vintage Jewelry?
This is what we do to every piece of vintage jewelry, costume or fine, that we sell:
The cleaning process depends on which type of jewelry you have, how it is made, and even how the stones are attached. Never dip sterling, never soak rhinestones.
Inspect the jewelry with a loupe.
How to clean Rhinestone Jewelry:
I use a
soft nail brush or toothbrush and Windex. Spray the brush very lightly. It has to be almost dry. Pat onto a towel or paper towel to remove the excess liquid Gently brush the piece. Use a magnifier to make sure it’s clean and to inspect the jewelry as you work.
I prefer glass cleaners with Ammonia, does a great job and removes grime. Get the name brand, it will be cheaper in the long run as it is concentrated and does a better job. Be absolutely sure to have lots of ventilation, don’t breath that stuff.
Be prepared to re-glue some stones as they may fall out in the process. They were going to fall out anyway, this just speeds the process and you don’t lose them. Clean over a box lid or place a small towel on the table so if they come off they will be safe. The glue to be used should not be the crazy-glue type. This types of glue eat the foil on the rhinestone, making it dull. The best glue is Hypo Cement. You can find it at hobby shops, craft stores and online.
The glue to be used should not be the crazy-glue type. This types of glue eat the foil on the rhinestone, making it dull. The best glue is Hypo Cement. You can find it at hobby shops, craft stores and online.
- For pieces that do not have rhinestones or glued parts:
I place them in a plastic bowl, spray with Windex (blue one) swish a few times and rinse. We have hard water here so the final rinse is filtered. Shake them gently by holding the whole piece in your cupped hands or a colander to remove the excess water. Lay them on a big plastic tray (also from the dollar store) over an old towel and air dry. You could use paper towels too but we are all for green living, so an old towel or t-shirt is best.
- Do not soak, wash or brush faux pearls. It could ruin them. Spray a soft rag or paper towel (an old t-shirt is great and re-usable), dab and not rub, make sure the fabric is not soaked but rather slightly damp.
If you are unsure about the type of thread used on a beaded necklace, it is best not to soak it. Spray a cloth with the cleaner and wipe the necklace clean instead.
All our vintage costume jewelry has been cleaned this way. As you can see a lot of work and love goes into bringing this jewelry to you. I love jewelry but hate dirt!