How to Clean Vintage Jewelry and Antique Jewelry?

How to Clean Vintage Jewelry and Antique Jewelry?

The excitement of making any lovely vintage or antique discovery can never be understated. Just look at fabulous vintage jewelry from our Far Fetched Imports Collections. You probably knew you had to bring the vintage jewelry home as soon as you saw it. But once you have these precious pieces, they will eventually gather dust at home. How to clean vintage jewelry, then?

Learning to clean vintage and antique jewelry regularly is essential if you want it to retain vintage/antique luster. Vintage and antique pieces could lose their luster and glimmer without routine maintenance and cleaning. Because of their age, people also care about keeping these items in the best possible condition to ensure they are passed down through the generations.

Clean with a Gentle Brush and Inspect for Debris

Getting ready is the first thing to do. Dust the item and vacuum away any debris with a gentle brush before attempting to clean it. To prevent the microscopic particles from scratching surfaces, you must proceed with extreme caution when cleaning antique jewelry. The dust or particles may be too small to be seen without a loupe or magnifying glass. A soft brush or toothbrush will do the trick if you find anything. Doing so will prep the object for use with any liquid.

Select the Proper Cleaner for your Metals and Gems

When it comes to cleaning, not all vintage jewelry is created equal. Care instructions for jewelry vary widely from one metal to the next and from stone to stone. In addition, since various metals have distinct chemical compositions, the impact of various solutions on various metals will also vary.

Polishing Old Gold

The darkening of gold jewelry is a common problem. We propose washing it with ammonia and lots of water to fix the problem. We advise using a professional cleaning solution designed for gold or platinum jewelry, as ammonia is extremely powerful and could cause irreparable damage if left on for too long. If there are no jewels or other items in the jewelry, dish detergent can be used to clean the metal. However, dish detergent is not a good choice if your jewelry contains gemstones since it may cause the stones to get loose or the water to become trapped under or around the setting.

The Proper Way to Polish Platinum

Cleaning platinum jewelry is the same as cleaning gold jewelry.

The Proper Way to Polish Vintage Silver

Since silver is a softer metal than gold or platinum, it can be cleaned using a baking soda solution that is applied more gently when cleaning antique jewelry.

Tips for Cleaning Vintage Gemstone Jewelry

Diamonds, sapphires, and rubies are the only gemstones that can withstand heat and be cleaned with more robust solutions, such as diluted ammonia (with due consideration of the hazards). The best method for cleaning your gemstones will depend on your stone type, so do some research online.

Cleaning Vintage Pearls

If your jewelry includes pearls, wearing them is the most excellent way to keep them clean. Your body’s oils will keep them shiny for a long time. Pearls can be cleaned with a gentle cloth dampened with olive oil, but anything more substantial should be avoided.

You can use a jewelry cleaner at home for harder metals and stones, but if you choose a professional cleaning solution, purchase a respected brand. To ensure the cleaner is suitable for your piece, carefully examine the bottle and the directions. Soaking the item is another option, although it depends on your solution. For instance, you can let dish detergent soak in a basin for longer if needed.

Make sure you choose a cleaning agent appropriate for your antique jewelry’s metal and stone type before you attempt to polish it at home. And if you want to double-check, you can always contact the jewelry store you got it from or a local jeweler. The hazards and benefits of utilizing various cleaning treatments are well-known to jewelers.

Cleaning jewelry with a cotton swab and cleaner

After determining the best method for cleaning the antique and removing any dirt or dust, you may begin the process. It’s gratifying to restore worn jewelry at one’s own house. First, use a small amount of the cleaner on a clean, soft cloth, and massage gently to remove dirt. The cloth shouldn’t be dripping wet. It would help to have it damp enough to clean the surface but not dripping. Next, use a soft Q tip to clean any inaccessible nooks in the item.

Soaking the item is another option, although it depends on your solution. For instance, you can let dish detergent soak in a basin for longer if needed.

Air Drying is the Best

This is a crucial part of restoring vintage pieces. After giving your piece a thorough dusting and cleaning, you should give it ample time to dry. Any remaining liquid poses a severe threat to the jewelry. This point cannot be overstated when learning how to clean antique jewelry: moisture is the worst thing that can happen to your pieces.

After washing your jewelry, you can speed up the drying process by placing it upside down for 15 minutes to allow gravity to remove any remaining moisture. You wouldn’t want it to fall into the jewelry’s setting, which could become lodged and cause damage.

Dry Them Properly

You can polish the object using a specialized cloth to complete the cleaning process. You can find specialized polishing clothes online or at a local jewelry store. They won’t break the bank and will help restore your antique’s luster.

The Proper Way to Polish Vintage Pieces

Treasured as they may be, vintage and estate jewelry will require special attention throughout the years to keep its luster intact. Whether you’re interested in learning how to polish gold at home or clean an ancient diamond ring, you’ll find detailed, item-specific instructions for caring for your jewelry here. Preserving your jewelry will ensure that it lasts a lifetime.

Since gold doesn’t tarnish, it’s far less of a hassle to keep it shiny than silver. To begin, give the jewelry a quick rinse under warm running water. Then you can gently scrub or remove any filth with a soft toothbrush. If more cleaning is required, apply mild dish soap with a towel, let it stay for a few minutes, and then scrub with the brush before rinsing. In contrast to silver, gold jewelry should not be cleaned with a baking soda solution.

Take special care when wearing, storing, and cleaning your gold jewelry. We advise having your gemstone jewelry professionally cleaned to keep the stones in place. Otherwise, to protect your gold jewelry from tarnishing:

– Take off your jewelry before you work out.

– Taking off jewelry before washing or bathing

– Take off your jewelry before entering the pool or coloring your hair.

Cleaning Antique or Vintage Diamond Rings

Few things are as stunning as a diamond ring that hasn’t been adequately cleaned.

Diamond rings can be cleaned by placing the jewelry in a tea strainer, soaking it in carbonated water laced with dish soap, and then brushing it with a soft toothbrush.

Bleach and chlorine should never be used near gold. Also, do not use powdered cleansers like baking soda. And always, if you’re not sure how to clean your jewelry, have a professional do it.


1. Remove the patina from the vintage rose- or yellow-gold jewelry by polishing.

It takes a long time for the patina to develop. Replica jewelry often attempts to mimic this patina to make their products look older than they are. Avoid over-polishing antique jewelry from the Georgian and Victorian periods. You don’t want the yellow gold to look brand new and shiny.

If you take your rings to be resized by someone not experienced with antique jewelry, tread carefully. After having a ring sized, it is customary to polish it to a high shine. Next, instruct them to lightly polish the bottom of the ring shank where the gold has been added or removed.

2. Make use of ultrasonic technology

When time is of the essence, using an ultrasonic cleaner on antique jewelry is acceptable. However, err on caution and don’t use them at all. If the stones are secure and the prongs are in good condition, cleaning the ring with an ultrasonic machine shouldn’t damage your 1920s platinum and diamond engagement ring. However, the delicate but powerful vibrations emitted by these gadgets often do more harm than good.

3. Soak jewelry

Some antique jewelry is not water-safe, mainly if it contains delicate stones like cameos, opals, seed pearls, etc. If your jewelry is very delicate, you should not submerge it in liquid. Use a brush or towel and some water instead for a light cleaning.

4. Use strong chemicals like ammonia to clean.

It is common knowledge on the internet that ammonia makes diamonds sparkle. For modern jewelry, this could work (in moderation), but vintage/antique pieces need to be handled with considerably more care. Don’t use bleach-containing agents or other strong detergents.


1. Create a mild cleaning solution

Making your cleaning solution can be the most effective approach to cleaning your antique jewelry. Unfortunately, store-bought jewelry cleaners typically cost much more without guaranteeing the same level of cleanliness. They could even be laced with toxic substances.

Make your own by combining lukewarm water with a drop or two of mild soap like Dove. But, again, the cleaning method is more important than the cleaning agent itself.

2. Use a gentle toothbrush and a lint-free towel.

Cleaning your antique jewelry can begin as soon as your solution is ready. You can soak it in water to loosen the dirt or use a toothbrush dipped to scrub the soft stones if your item has any. Before you get started, check for any stray stones.

Then, brush your jewelry carefully, paying particular attention to the back of the stone and the spaces between the prongs. Make light, gradual circles with the pressure applied. Don’t be tempted to apply additional pressure if the piece is excessively unclean; exercise more patience. If the piece of jewelry can take it, submerge it in the solution and continue the process three times.

3. Ensure a thorough rinsing and drying

You shouldn’t submerge fragile jewelry in water, but you also shouldn’t let soap residue build-up up since it would undermine the point of cleaning in the first place. Instead, clear the jewelry in lukewarm water and dry it with a soft cloth. When polishing a ring, only buff the shank, not the band or area around any stones or inscriptions. Do not store jewelry until it has dried completely.

4. Have realistic expectations

Vintage pieces of jewelry are never intended to be modern. So don’t expect this to happen when cleaning jewelry. It would help if you cleaned the filth, bacteria, and other yucky stuff. However, it would help if you didn’t scrub off decades of patina and history. Is the gold damaged in any way? Don’t have it polished off; leave it. 

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