Cleaning jewellery

Cleaning Costume, silver, gold & crystal Jewellery. 

What ever age your vintage jewellery is, it will pick up dirt over time. Here is a short guide with hints & tips to cleaning it.

First identify the material and construction of your jewellery. Never immerse in water as it can loosen any rhinestones, crystal diamante or any glued in stones that are not held by prongs. Also water will damage any clasps, etc if they are glued on. Using tweezers look closely at the piece and remove any stray hairs or fibres. A magnifier or lens is useful equipment to own.

Gold, silver and brass - use a recommended liquid or cloth cleaner available from various stores or an ultrasonic cleaner (follow the instructions) Once the jewellery is cleaned, polish with a dry cloth.

Gold, silver, bronze and brass colored metal jewellery - Use a cotton bud. Spray the bud with a multi tasking furniture polish and rub first a part that does not show. This is to make sure that the polish does not take of the gold or silver plate. If all is okay, then rub the polish covered bud over the item and then buff with the other dry end. Plastic - wipe with a just damp cloth of a mild soap solution (washing up liquid is ideal) or use a cotton bud. Occasionally you may need to use a soft brush to get into the grooves. Check for colour fastness on any bright coloured pieces first. To make your plastic jewellery shine - use a small dab of petroleum jelly on your jewellery and polish after.

cleaning silver jewelleryRhinestone and diamante glass stones - use a cotton bud and a window cleaning solution or water mixed with vinegar. Dip the bud in the solution and blot with kitchen tissue, so that is just damp. Clean the piece of jewellery and then buff with a dry cotton bud. The difference is amazing and you can get through several cotton buds on a piece that does not look particularly dirty.

cleaning rhinestones
Bone, ivory and shell - use a cotton bud or cloth dipped in olive or vegetable oil so as not to dry out the natural product. Blot almost dry and clean, then air until dry.

Gemstones - because there are so many various gemstones then you will need to identify what they are and follow specific cleaning instructions. Many gemstones in jewellery are faux and made of glass or plastic so follow the above instructions. For real gemstones - see our guides below. 

Updated October 2018. Copyright Jewels & Finery UK.
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