Non Precious Metals
If you have some beautiful antique jewellery, it may be gold, or silver. The precious metals will stand up to a lot more wear than the later costume jewellery. Sometimes it is preferable to have your precious antique pieces cleaned by a professional jeweller.
Vintage Costume jewellery by nature is made from a non precious metal with non precious stones – a piece equal to it in gold, with perhaps diamonds or other precious stones may pass from generation to generation. In order to do that with the past century’s costume jewellery, some work will be in order.
First thing to remember, when putting your vintage jewellery on, whether it is a brooch or a necklace or bracelet, do it last, after the make up, perfume, hair spray etc. All of those things can badly affect a non precious metal.
Moisture is the absolute enemy of costume jewellery, so if you do find a need to clean one of your pieces, make sure that you do not soak the piece, or get it too wet. You can use Windex or a mild mixture of water and detergent, but do it by spraying a little on to a soft cloth and using it that way. For stubborn hard to reach places, a soft toothbrush can do the trick. Always, whether using the cloth, or toothbrush, use a feather light touch and make sure that the item is left on a soft cloth in the air to dry until you are absolutely sure there is no moisture around. Verdigris can often happen on vintage jewellery, which is the direct result of moisture. If you want to clean a piece showing signs of verdigris, try a little lemon juice, or a week vinegar mixture, and again make sure it is totally dry afterwards.
When storing your vintage jewellery, it is best to ensure that each piece is resting individually, so that there is no opportunity for scratching one against the other. Soft pouches are also handy for storage.