As we specialise in Fine, Antique Jewellery and Vintage pieces, we want to make sure jewellery lovers everywhere know how to care for these precious pieces of jewellery.
Don’t forget, anything considered Antique is more than 100 years old, and Vintage pieces are roughly around 20-30 years old, so due to the age of Antique and Vintage jewellery, choosing the correct way to store and clean your different types of jewellery will keep them looking brand new!
Antique & Vintage Metals
Knowing the type of metal within your jewellery is a good first step to determine how to clean it. Different metals require different cleaning solutions, knowing the right one will ensure you don’t remove any protective layers, the shine and colour.
For those who may not be aware, the higher the carat your gold jewellery is, the softer it is (24carat being the purest form of gold). As pure gold can be damaged easily, it’s very common to find gold jewellery that has had other elements mixed with it to make it stronger and durable.
However cleaning gold is quite easy and can be kept in good condition at home by using a soft cloth and warm soapy water, we do recommend you stay away from any strong chemical solutions, such as bleach, as this could harm your gold jewellery.
Jewellery such as engagement rings or wedding bands should be cleaned on a regular basis, as they’re worn daily, there is plenty of dirt and dust that can get stuck between gemstones and coat your metal.
If your antique or vintage ring has an intricate design, engravings or has 1 or many gemstones incorporated within it, it may become trickier to clean properly as the gemstones may require a different cleaning solution to the metal. In this situation we recommend either taking it to a professional.
For engravings on rings or watches, take the softest toothbrush you can get hold of and use this with very mild soap to gently clean the engraving – do not scrub, as this could damage the metal.
When it comes to cleaning and polishing your silver jewellery, as it is a delicate metal, it requires a delicate touch. If you do decide to clean your silver jewellery at home, choose Baking Soda over harsh cleaning chemicals which as you can guess is a big no no, even being exposed to products like hairspray can over time damage your silver jewellery.
To buff your silver jewellery for a great shine choose fabrics such as microfiber and non-abrasive cloths, you could even invest in silver polish and a special polishing cloth which is designed to keep your silver jewellery sparkling.
If your silver jewellery has a complicated design, unlike gold which can be cleaned quite easily, we do recommend choosing a professional to clean your silver jewellery.
One more tip to know for Silver jewellery is it likes its own space. Make sure you store silver away from other pieces that could rub or tangle against your silver jewellery and ultimately scratch it.
Antique & Vintage Pearls & Softer Materials
Other types of gemstones that are more organic than stones such as Diamonds and Sapphires require a different type of care to precious gemstones and metals to ensure they continue looking like new.
These softer gemstones such as pearls, amber and coral to name a few, are much more delicate and therefore they cannot be cleaned the same way you would gold jewellery.
Pearls in particular are delicate due to their creation and development, as they’re formed by living creatures, the organic structure of a pearl makes them not only beautiful but extremely delicate.
That’s why it’s important to know when cleaning pearls you don’t want to harm the outer coating that has taken its creator a long time to form.
Your delicate gemstones should be cleaned either by a professional or in warm water combined with a very mild cleaning solution – do not keep them under water. Use a very soft cloth to lay your jewellery on whilst you clean and lightly dab and pat to clean and dry.
Aside from cleaning your softer gemstones, general day to day wear can cause more damage than you realise. Just like silver, these delicate materials like to be put away separately, so investing in a decent jewellery box or soft jewellery bags will keep them tangle and scratch free for longer.
As with most jewellery, harmful chemicals which we use daily can also have an effect on the condition of your jewellery.
Products such as perfume, make-up, hair treatments and similar chemicals like these can damage your jewellery over time. That’s why it’s always best to put jewellery on last, so it doesn’t get covered in these kinds of products.
If you have forgot to put your jewellery on last, rub your fine jewellery with a soft cloth and place them away from other pieces of jewellery until their next clean will keep them in good condition.
Antique & Vintage Coloured Gemstones
Metals aside, you may have gold or silver jewellery that includes gemstones. Considering the age of your jewellery you can appreciate these gemstones have probably been through a lot!
To keep gemstones sparkling wiping them down after every wear, this will remove any make-up or coats of chemicals it may have picked up throughout the day.
Just like gold and silver, stay away from harsh cleaning chemicals and other chemicals such as chlorine, these can actually erode the finish of your gemstones and take away their shine.
For antique and vintage gemstones in particular, avoid wearing them during activities that may risk your jewellery being scratched or hit by other objects.
Vintage & Antique Necklaces & Bracelets
As different styles of necklaces and bracelets come in a range of sizes and lengths, hanging metal necklaces and bracelets is a simple and easy way to keep them tangle and kink free and away from other jewellery pieces.
If you do choose to hang necklaces and bracelets, place longer jewellery pieces at the bottom, that way, shorter jewellery items won’t be touched by the longer pieces.
You can also choose to place jewellery individually in zip bags, which is very handy if you’re travelling and want to take your antique or vintage jewellery with you.
There are a few exceptions however, if you’re a lover of pearl or beaded necklaces, we recommend keeping these stored away and laid flat, rather than being hung, this is simply because beaded bracelets and necklaces include soft materials such as cotton or silk to hold the beads together.
It may seem tedious to keep jewellery separated but for antique and vintage pieces it’s worth it. Many pieces are simply irreplaceable and may even be one of a kind, so they need extra care to ensure they can be worn and loved for another 100 years.