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Cleaning and Storing your Jewelry

Now that you have received your absolute favorite piece of vintage costume jewelry you may wonder what is the best way to clean and store it.

I will share with you my methods of cleaning and storing my inventory and personal collection. As soon as I arrive home from my shopping trips I evaluate the condition of the pieces, and what I mean by this is their cleanliness level and not their aging or wear level. The later has been already taken into consideration during the shopping process. I separate the jewelry in groups, i.e. there will be a faux pearl group, a copper group, a silver group, a rhinestone group etc. Special care and more investigating will have to be done later to the mixed group which contains for example sterling silver and rhinestones.

I then soak for 10-15 min in soapy warm water the metal groups; these are pieces that are made entirely of metals and have no other materials. A gentle brushing using a soft bristle brush usually removes all debris, such as oils, makeup and even some verdi gris. For further removal of light oxidation (even some troubling patinas) on copper, goldtone metal or silvertone metal I use vinegar. In the case of sterling silver I use toothpaste.

The faux pearl jewelry gets Qtip treatments. I clean each bead with a Qtip soaked in soapy water and carefully dry them out with a soft towel. I then rinse everything very carefully several times with lukewarm water.

In the case of jewelry with rhinestones I never soak in water or other cleaning solutions because I am concerned with the foil damage of the rhinestones from trapped moisture. I usually clean the surface of glass stones or rhinestones using a Qtip with Windex; the same goes for the metal parts of the pieces.

I do not recommend using harsh commercial cleaners or polishes. “Everybody” is allowed to air dry on soft towels for at least 24 hours before being stored away. Oh, and one thing I always have in my jewelry cleaning kit is a Sunshine Polishing Cloth which I use for more stubborn areas of tarnish and grime.

I dedicate a room to storing my vintage costume jewelry and vintage fine jewelry. I keep all items in sealed plastic bags away from direct sunlight and heat, in a controlled temperature environment. Since everything is cleaned and dried carefully before storing, I am not concerned with moisture getting trapped in the plastic bags. What a joy it is to look through my drawers of beautiful and clean old beauties. I know you know the feeling!


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We carry Vintage and Antique Jewelry, Estate Jewelry, Mens Jewelry, both fine and costume as well as Vintage Accessories. Enjoy browsing through our large collection of vintage earrings, bracelets, brooches, necklaces, sets and rings.
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Phone: (864) 612-6279
Our collections include vintage jewelry and antique jewelry such as brooches, necklaces, chokers, flappers, bracelets, bangles, cuffs, earrings, sets, cufflinks by designers such as Art, Bogoff, Ciner, Carnegie, Coro, Denicola, DeMario, Florenza, Goldette, Har, Hobe, Hollycraft, Haskell, KJL, Kramer, Krementz, Lanvin, Lisner, Jomaz, Juliana, Marvella, Monet, Renoir, Robert, Sarah Coventry, Schiaparelli, Schreiner, Selro, Swoboda, Trifari, Warner, Weiss and more. In our store you will find Victorian, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Modernist, Egyptian Revival and Christmas costume jewelry made of celluloid, lucite, bakelite, crystals, rhinestones, glass, sterling, pewter, copper, brass, wood, jade, pearls, ivory, enamel, and porcelain.
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