Taking Care Of Your Vintage Baubles

Style icon Coco Chanel can be credited with making affordable, fun costume jewelry popular, but it's really been around since ancient Egyptian times. The wide availability and the low cost of unique pieces can mean the beginnings of an obsession for some, and even the rich and famous love their fun fake rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. If you've picked up a fabulous piece that could use some "TLC," or if you're in need of some jewelry care and maintenance for old pieces, read on to learn about caring for your vintage costume pieces.


If you've noticed a distinct tendency for a your pieces to sport a greenish growth, you may have an issue with verdigris. This coating is not only ugly, but could damage the your pieces and spread to other jewelry if left unchecked. Because of the potential for damage, use great care when cleaning this substance from your jewelry. There is no need to visit a store for this task, an acid-based product like lemon juice, vinegar or even ketchup can do the job. Carefully apply the product, using a toothpick or soft brush to gently dislodge the verdigris. Let the product sit for up to a half an hour or so, then wipe it off. Sometimes some of the metal finish comes off with the cleaning product, but unfortunately this may be unavoidable since the verdigris may have already done damage to the metal. Keep this damaging substance at bay in the future by cleaning your pieces with some mild dish soap and drying thoroughly before putting away.

Bakelite and Plastic Jewelry

Be sure to keep jewelry made with these materials in a box when not in use, since they tend to darken with time and exposure to light. Use a soft cloth to wipe them off, and a little beeswax may be used to shine them up like new.

General Care and Cleaning

  • Hairspray and cologne are the sworn enemies of both costume and fine jewelry, so use these products before you put your jewelry on.
  • Keep your pieces in a dark, soft-lined box when not in use.
  • Special boxes lined with a tarnish-preventative material can keep your pieces looking bright, but a piece of chalk could also be a simple and inexpensive remedy for tarnishing.
  • Avoid using plastic bags for storage; moisture could form inside the bag.
  • Keep your pieces separated to prevent tangling and damage.

Your precious collectibles can bring you a lifetime of joy if you take good care of them. For more information, contact a professional in your area or visit a website like http://solsjewelryandloan.net/.