Vintage jewellery carries a certain allure and charm that modern pieces often lack. Whether you've inherited a family heirloom or stumbled upon a unique vintage find, it's crucial to understand how to care for and preserve these precious treasures. Special attention is required in order to maintain its original beauty and ensure it lasts for generations to come. In this post, we'll provide you with tips, tricks and hacks on how to care for necklaces, earrings, brooches and bracelets from bygone eras and keep them gleaming.
- Handle with Care:
You may not know exactly how old a piece of jewellery is, and many of us have had a family ring or other item passed down to us from grandparents to discover later on that it was originally the ring from our Great Great Grandmothers engagement or wedding and is much older than we anticipated. So always be gentle and handle it with care. Avoid touching gemstones or delicate metalwork directly with your fingers, as oils and dirt from your skin can dull the stones and tarnish the metal. Instead, hold the jewellery by the edges or wear clean cotton gloves while handling. This will help preserve the integrity and shine of your vintage pieces.
- Clean with Caution:
Cleaning vintage jewellery requires a delicate touch. Before cleaning, determine the type of metal and gemstones used in the item. Each material may require a specific cleaning method. For metal jewellery, use a soft, non-abrasive cloth to gently polish the surface. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the metal and stones. If in doubt, consult a professional jeweller who specializes in vintage pieces for advice on the best cleaning methods.
- Store Properly:
Proper storage is vital to prevent damage and keep your vintage finds in pristine condition. Store each piece separately to prevent scratching or tangling. Use individual jewellery pouches, soft cloth bags, or lined jewellery boxes with compartments to keep pieces organized and protected from dirt, sunlight and of course loss. It is also a good idea to place anti-tarnish strips or silica gel packets inside the storage containers to absorb moisture and prevent tarnishing, bringing us to our next point!
- Protect from Moisture and Chemicals:
Moisture and chemicals can cause irreversible damage to vintage jewellery. Avoid wearing your vintage pieces while swimming, bathing, or engaging in activities that expose them to excessive moisture. Moisture can cause metal to tarnish and gemstones to lose their lustre. Additionally, keep your treasures away from perfumes, hairsprays, and household cleaning products, as these can damage the materials and cause discoloration.
- Check and Secure Settings:
Regularly inspect the settings of your vintage jewellery to ensure stones are secure. Over time, prongs or settings may become loose, increasing the risk of losing gemstones. If you notice any loose stones or signs of wear, take your piece to a professional jeweller for repair or re-setting. They have the expertise and tools to fix and secure settings without causing further damage.
- Avoid Excessive Exposure to Sunlight:
Direct sunlight can fade or discolour gemstones and cause metals to become dull. When not wearing your vintage jewellery, store it in a cool and dark place away from sunlight. If you plan to display your pieces, consider using UV-protective glass cases or boxes to minimize exposure to harmful rays.
- Seek Professional Help:
If you're unsure about how to clean or care for a specific piece of vintage jewellery, it's always best to seek professional assistance. Jewellers can provide expert advice on cleaning methods, repairs, and any restoration required. It is always tempting these days to look for advice or tutorials on the internet (especially places like YouTube) but it can be extremely difficult to determine a persons expertise or the actual success of their particular "hack" and when caring for vintage one-of-a-kind pieces, it just isn't worth the risks of cutting corners!