If you’re a collector of antique or vintage jewelry, or you have inherited pieces from relatives, you should know how to restore them to their former glory. Cleaning older jewelry is risky without the right tools and expertise, but with the help of professionals like the team at Queen Street Gallery in Martinsburg, WV, the process is much simpler. Here are the cleaning methods this antique shop recommends to make vintage jewelry sparkle and shine once again.
Remove Dust & Debris
The first step in cleaning your jewelry is removing any excess dust or debris lodged in the crevices. Use a soft makeup brush to sweep the surface of the piece, taking care to notice loose stones or bent clasps that may need repair. Using a loupe or magnifying glass is helpful for getting a close-up look at the situation.
Use the Right Cleaning Solution
Different metals and stones require different solutions to keep them clean and undamaged. The most common at-home cleaning solutions are mixtures of a small amount of ammonia, baking soda, or dish detergent with water. Cleaning can be as simple as dipping a soft-bristled toothbrush into a mixture and brushing the jewelry gently, but note that these mixtures work best for different types of jewelry.
While gold and platinum can withstand being treated with an ammonia solution, silver is a weaker metal that fares better with a baking soda mixture. Harder gemstones like diamonds, rubies, and sapphires can be cleaned with an ammonia solution, but other stones cannot. Pearls, for instance, are better treated with a soft cloth and a few drops of olive oil.
To Immerse or Not to Immerse?
Immersion in a cleaning solution is another treatment that depends on the jewelry. For example, if stones are set into the metal, immersion in dish detergent can cause them to fall out. Stones with foil backing can also present issues when immersed in a solution, as liquid can cause the foil to peel or become discolored. It’s best to research treatments specific to the metal and stones first, but your vintage jewelry should always be dried thoroughly after cleaning, regardless of how you choose to clean it.
Know When to Call the Experts
No matter how much information is available on the internet, there’s no replacement for the training and expertise of a professional. If you’re looking to keep your vintage jewelry pieces in the best possible condition, find a reputable jeweler in your area who specializes in antiques. Having your collection cleaned and preserved by a professional will be well worth it.
When you’re looking for help cleaning and restoring your jewelry, you need an expert you can trust. Look to Queen Street Gallery for friendly, quality service in all things antique, from vintage jewelry to antique maps and art. Also known for their custom picture framing and African tribal artifacts, this shop is a sight to behold. Call (304) 263-9495 or visit their website for further details on their services. You can also find them on Facebook.