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How to Care for Your Vintage Costume Jewelry

CLEANING AND STORAGE:
Keep in mind that perfumes and hair spray can damage your jewelry. If you do use either product give it ample time to dry before donning your jewels.
Your jewelry should be washed in warm water with mild dish soap every 3-4 wearings. Dry with a soft cloth and allow to sit out for at least 24 hours to ensure it is completely dry before storing. I place mine in a sunny windowsill.
Store your jewels flat and try to leave enough space that they do not touch each other. Storing in plastic bags is not recommended.
Never use any cleaning product intended for fine jewelry on your costume pieces. The ammonia will damage the foil backing causing your rhinestones to darken. Likewise do not polish with any treated cloths as they can damage the finish.


Eisenberg cur clip with yellowed stones due to foil damage
The yellowing and cloudiness on this Eisenberg fur clip is due to foil damage.

IF YOU FIND A SCALY GREEN SUBSTANCE ON YOUR JEWELRY:
This is called verdigris and it most commonly affects gold tone pieces. It needs to be removed as it is eating the metal. You can remove it using vinegar on a cotton swab. Isolate any pieces with verdigris from your other jewelry until you have removed it, as it can spread.
Earring with stones removed to show verdigris inside the cup.
If you look closely at the insides of the cups on these Weiss earrings, you can see green verdigris

IF YOU LOSE A STONE:
Never fear, I am happy to replace stones for you. Simply contact me and include a photo of your piece. While I am not doing enameling and soldering jobs yet, there are still some basic repairs I am able to do, so please reach out.

Before and after photo of a green brooch missing stones
This brooch was missing most of its icing stones. The best course of action was to remove them all and replace with new. 

1 comment

  • Thanks for the information!

    Jhc

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