How to Clean Vintage Jewelry

We thought it would be helpful to share our favorite tips for cleaning those flea market jewelry finds that need some love. Keeping our vintage jewelry looking fresh is the first step we take before listing any new styles on our shop. We've seen it all... from missing stones, beat up jump rings and dirty surfaces. Continue reading for a roundup of cleaning do's and don'ts when it comes to vintage costume jewelry.


To clean all metal styles use warm water, dish soap and a toothbrush. Windex can also be used in place of soap! Lightly scrub the surface to remove any dirt that may have built up over the years. Make sure to let completely air dry to avoid any rusting. For pearl and rhinestone styles, simply use a dry toothbrush to sweep away any dust or dirt. It is important not to wet these more delicate styles as water might get trapped and change the appearance of stones.


After jewelry has been washed and cleaned, it is a good idea to shine it up with a polishing cloth. Most vintage jewelry is gold plated or sterling silver, but even brass can be polished. For that extra fresh feeling, we love to use the sunshine polishing cloth! Wrap the polishing cloth around a piece of jewelry or chain to softly buff the surface which will bring out that bright finish. Repeat every now and then to keep pieces looking new.


The next step is to ensure durability by checking each jump ring and clasp. Pay special attention to jump rings that are not fully closed, we tighten up loose jump rings using a pair of chain nose pliers. For anything that needs to be replaced, our go-to recourse is Rio Grande for a wide assortment of jump rings and closures.


We inspect each piece of jewelry for loose or missing stones. For replacements, we keep a small batch of pearls and rhinestones in various sizes and colors. If there's not a bead or craft store near you, Etsy can be a great resource for jewelry bits. Try searching for "loose rhinestones" or "loose pearls" to start off. Carefully use a single drop of super glue to secure stones back into place, make sure to put down a paper towel for spills. Then let dry!


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