Sunday, 18 March 2012

Cleaning vintage costume jewellery

First up I want to say I am not an expert but I just wanted to share my experience of cleaning vintage costume jewellery.

I'm not someone who owns much - if any! - very expensive vintage jewellery but I have a lot of very cute stuff, some of which I've had for a very long time. There is a lot of advise out there on how to clean silver or gold, but what if you have a piece of costume jewellery that is just grubby? Whether it be because it's been stored away forever, has had hairspray on it or perfume, or in fact you have it from a time when smoking in clubs was still going on, all these things can make jewellery grubby.

On Saturday I decided to clean a few items.

I have a really cute 50s charm bracelet with all manner of musical items on it a real trinket type of bracelet but cute! I really wish I'd taken a before picture of this, it was grey, really really grubby, I just never wear it as every time I look at it I just think it doesn't look nice.

I filled a bowl with washing up liquid and warm water, I popped the bracelet in, and used a very cheap soft toothbrush to give it a gentle scrub.

And here it is!

I know I took a lot of photos, sorry but I cannot tell you about the difference that cleaning has made! This bracelet was so grey I thought it was silver coloured and it's not it definitely has a gold tint, holy moly. If you have a piece of very grubby costume jewellery I can highly recommend this method!!

I got out a few of my lovely jangly 50s bracelets for a clean too. I rarely wear them these days but I really must, they are so lovely, I guess you go through phases I used to wear them all the time. They have come up so lovely and clean!

They are all super jangly, especially the top one, yes they are little bells!!

Then I got out a couple of my favourite brooches and a lovely vintage hair clip which was definitely grubby and had hairspray residue on it.

Again they all came up great with the washing up liquid and warm water solution. I had to be less aggressive with the toothbrush on the hair clip as it's pretty delicate but still gave it a very gentle going over.

I wear the brooches quite often but not so much the hair clip, I must wear that more, it's so beautiful and looks great with my red hair!!


Vix said...

You really do have some fabulous stuff! I adore the bangles and that cute kitty brooch is adorable. x

Vintage Coconut said...

*Agree with Vix on the cute jewelry comment*
I am crazy about that bottom bracelet with the oysters, starfish & fish. *How unique and awesome*

The palm tree brooch is so sweet!

I will try your method when I have the cleaning urge.

Laurence said...

I use myself also toothbrush to clean my costume jewelery but with toothpaste and it'sreally usefull for light plastic or lucite jewelery!

Perdita said...

Thanks for the useful tips. I've recently had an ebay binge, the cheap stuff's always grubby (hence cheap) but a good clean and it's super.

Kim Bombshell said...

Thanks for the tips!

Miss Magpie said...

OOOOOOooh I Love that cat brooch.

phenolicfanatic said...

Great post! You are so right about not always having access to info on cleaning costume jewellery!A toothbrush can do wonders hey! The only bit of advice I would add is to check you dont have glued fixtures as sometimes water will unlgue the glue! Beautiful drool worthy gems- thanks for sharing!!

sabina moon said...

You do some pretty inspiring stuff. I wish I could find the jewelry pieces. I live in Arizona and haven't found much by way of old costume jewelry at the yard sales. It's too expensive at the second hand shops. Nice site anyways. Your time and efforts are appreciated.
shop online jewellery

Indi & The Wolf said...

The craftsmanship on these pieces is amazing. Some are really delicate.

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