As many of you know, vintage carries with it a lot of baggage. Each piece has a story, a history worthy of telling many years from now on. If you want an accessory to pass on to the next generation, check out top tips and tricks – caring for vintage costume jewelry. It’s important to learn how to care, wear and clean it as they need gentle attention.

A piece of vintage costume jewelry is an investment. Any specialist out there will tell you it needs a little bit more attention than you’re used to. After all, as Marilyn Monroe put it, “diamonds are a girl’s best friend”. It can carry sentimental value, but it can also have precious stones. So it’s wise to know what components you’re working with.

They’re are worthy of your attention and soft care because a lot of them are unique. And these days, when everywhere you look you see copy cats, a piece like this becomes a statement and it turns you into a style icon.

To begin with, it’s better to avoid damage than to fix it. Bear in mind that these pieces are easier to ruin than finer jewelry. It says it in the name, it’s for a costume, they’re meant to be worn often, so designers knew back then to put less durable materials like stones and metals. This was to be easier and cheaper to fix.

Fast forward to today, it’s best to not to wear it often, place it in safe spots and clean it regularly. It’s actually recommended you keep them away from skin oils, hairspray and perfume, so it’s best if they’re worn over clothes. But don’t fret if it will need mending and it won’t be the same, as some materials have changed.

Think of it like it will get a new look, an upgrade of personality. Because yes, vintage costume jewelry has character. They carry a vibe. When you wear them, you get transported and become a retro star.

Dry Cleaning Vintage Costume Jewelry

If you’re not an expert and you’re not even sure what materials you’re dealing with, opt to dry clean it. Substances carry a lot of ingredients which might do more damage good, so go for a simple cloth and lots of attention. What’s more, they can also leave a lot of residue.

Invest in a simple baby toothbrush and start cleaning your piece gently under a lamp. If this is not enough, avoid using water as it can also do damage. Opt instead for a can of compressed air to make get dust off it. If you’re not satisfied and there are some nooks and crannies worthy of a clean, but the brush can’t get to them, use wood tooth picks. Give it a final rub with a cloth and you’re done.

Homemade Solutions for Cleaning Vintage Costume Jewelry

If you dare to clean a little bit deeper, make for a homemade solution out of liquid soap and warm water. Careful and use gentle soap. Mix one part of it to three parts of water. Dip your toothbrush in it, tap the head to get rid of excess water and repeat the steps above.

If you know what materials you are dealing with and you know they can stand harsher mixes, the following solutions are for you. The second solution is to mix a bit of vinegar, sodium bicarbonate and water. Follow the steps above to clean it.

The third mix is the most toxic for jewelry of all and it’s nail polish remover with some water. Of course, if you want to play it safe, you can invest in a special cleaner. But make sure you know what materials you’re working with and if they can stand it. If not, best to check everything with a specialist.

And finally, the fourth mix is ketchup and mayonnaise. Use it to clean verdigris (the green goo) from your well-worn jewelry. But avoid using in on pearls, fake or real ones, as they need special care. 

Sometimes Water Is All You Need to Clean Vintage Costume Jewelry

If you’ve worn vintage pearls and they might have some make-up, skin oil or other substances on them, dip them in simple warm water and dry them with a towel. But remember that if you use even simple water, liquids are vintage costume jewelry’s kryptonite. So make sure and double check you dried them completely.

Sometimes, oxygen and even acid sweat make vintage costume jewelry to change colors. If this is the case, a simple clean won’t work. To keep them shining for longer after a deep clean, keep them in special soft satchels. What’s more add a bit of white chalk to keep moisture and tarnishing at bay.

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