We wish you many happy years with your jewelry! Vintage and antique jewelry can require special care to keep it safe and sparkling for generations to come. We do not recommend ultrasonic cleaners for any antique or estate aged jewelry pieces as these type of machines can loosen stones or damage stones and their settings. Here are some safe tips for care, cleaning and storage.
* Store you jewels in the cotton-lined box your order was received in or use a soft jewelry pouch. Proper storage will prevent your jewels from scratching or rubbing together. Storage in dry, humid-free areas are best in areas that will protect them from extreme heat or moisture. Do not store at length in closed, airtight plastic bags.
* Always apply perfume, lotions and other sprayed substances, before putting on your jewelry. Your jewelry should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off.
* Always remove jewelry before house-cleaning with chemicals, showering, swimming or exercising. Bleach and Chlorine can damage some stones and pit gold metals.
* Sterling silver jewelry will tarnish over time. Use a soft polishing cloth to gently rub jewelry to safely brighten up the silver finish.
* Be very careful using store bought dip solutions to clean your vintage & antique jewelry. We don't recommend it. They contain harsh chemicals which can strip away the beauty of metal finishes on your antique jewel in a flash.
* For cleaning lockets - never use liquids if there are photographs or other materials inside as these could easily be damaged by the liquids. Use a soft cloth or jewelry cloth.
* Closed back jewelry - typical of the Georgian and early Victorian periods cannot get wet. Never place in liquids and always remove rings before washing hands or engaging in any other activity where water may come into contact with the setting. Closed back jewelry typically has foiled backed gemstones and any tiny gap between the mount and stone can allow moisture in and the foiling can be damaged and change color. Be careful even when wearing these pieces in heavy rain. It is best to clean these pieces with a very soft toothbrush or a very soft lint free cloth.
* Cleaning gold, silver and most gemstone jewelry with warm water and a few drops of mild (non-detergent) soap is considered safe. Gently use a very soft toothbrush (we like to use a baby toothbrush) to loosen particles of dirt around the settings or prongs.
* Pay attention to the settings around your stones. If you notice any loose stones or movement of the stones, or if your prongs are catching threads, take it to your jeweler for inspection and/or repair. Nothing is worse than looking down and finding a stone missing!
GEMSTONES NEEDING SPECIAL CARE:
Emeralds - Emeralds are very soft and should always be stored separately. They should only be cleaned with a very soft brush and mild (non-detergent) soap diluted in water. Rinse and pat dry.
Pearls - Pearls are very sensitive to oils in your skin or oils from lotions, perfume, makeup, hairspray and even perspiration. Make sure to apply all products and sprays before putting on your pearls. Store them in a long box separately. To clean, wipe gently with a very soft slightly damp cloth after each wearing. Do not get your pearls wet! The stringing takes a long time to dry and is prone to attracting dirt, mildew and disintegration. A check every couple of years with your jeweler will help make sure the pearls and string are in good order.
Opals - Opals are soft stones and should always be stored separately. They are a porous stone and can easily crack, so be very careful around harsh chemicals. They should only be cleaned with a very soft brush and diluted mild (non-detergent) soap. Rinse and pat dry.
Turquoise, Lapis, Malachite - These stones are porous and are sensitive to grease, dirt and oils. These stones are also soft and easily scratched so they should be stored separately in a box or pouch. Clean only with a very soft brush and diluted mild (non-detergent) soap.
Ivory, Coral, Shell and Amber - These organic materials are very sensitive to perfumes, oils, sprays and lotions, which should all be applied before the jewelry is put on. They are sensitive to extremes in temperature and should be stored away from direct sunlight. Only clean with a very soft brush and diluted mild (non-detergent) soap. Rinse and pat dry. Amber and Coral are soft and should be stored separately.
Jade - Jade is a durable and scratch-resistant stone but often has a polished finish. To preserve this finish, it is best to only clean with a very soft brush and diluted mild(non-detergent) soap. Rinse and pat dry.
Diamonds, Rubies and Sapphires - These gemstone can take heat and can be cleaned with ammonia based cleaners unless they are set in old antique and vintage settings which could be harmed by the harsh chemicals. Only clean antique and vintage set jewels with a very soft brush and diluted mild (non-detergent) soap. Rinse and pat dry.
Rhinestones, Paste and other Closed Back Pieces - These antique and vintage beauties are often foiled back which gives them their incredible sparkle. The foil backing behind the stones are prone to breakage and disintegration and once gone, its often not replaceable and can give your stones a darkened, blotchy appearance. Never immerse foiled back stones in water and exercise caution even when washing hands if you are wearing a ring. Moisture that gets behind the setting will destroy the foiling. Never immerse this type of jewelry in water. To clean, use a soft, dry brush and a cloth. Never clean with water or any cleaning solution.
Other Semi-Precious Colored Stones - Colored stones may be dipped in an ammonia solution but should never be soaked. Brush with a soft toothbrush, rinse and pat dry.
Enamel - Store enamel jewelry pieces with care. The enamel can easily be scratched or chipped so store these pieces separately in their own box or pouch. To clean enamel pieces use a silver polishing cloth. Never use a chemical based cleaning liquid which can remove the gloss smoothness of the enamel.
Hair Work - Hair jewelry is very delicate. As it is prone to breakage it should always be stored separately in its own box or pouch. It is best to try not to clean hair work or allow it to come in contact with water or moisture.
Butterfly Wings - This type of jewelry is very sensitive to moisture. Any contact with water or chemicals will ruin the butterfly wing. To clean, gently wipe the setting with a silver polishing cloth.
Cut Steel - Moisture is the worst enemy of cut steel jewelry. Moisture of any kind will cause the metal to rust. To clean, brush with a soft, dry brush or cloth.
Micromosaic or Pietra Dura - These are delicate types of jewelry that should be stored separately in their own box or pouch. Do not get this type of jewelry wet. To clean, use a soft, dry brush being careful not to dislodge any inlaid pieces that may have become loose.
Cameos - Cameos should be stored separately in their own box or pouch. To clean, use a slightly damp cloth to wipe the piece and towel, pat dry.
Portrait Miniatures - These types of jewels are very delicate and should be stored separately in a box or pouch. Most often these portraits were painted on ivory bases and can easily be destroyed. Use extreme caution and only gently wipe with a very soft cloth. Mountings can be gently wiped with a silver polishing cloth.