Cleaning & Care

Jewelry requires special care when cleaning and storing in order to keep it looking its best. A little precaution goes a long way towards keeping it beautiful!

  • Store each piece individually in a soft pouch or container at a moderate temperature. Some materials are sensitive to heat and cold.
  • Perfume, hairspray, makeup, and skin oils can also be damaging to jewelry. Always apply products prior to putting on your jewelry.
  • Avoid bathing, house cleaning, gardening, and exercising in your jewelry as those are perfect opportunities for loss or damage.
  • When cleaning your jewelry, bear in mind that it is always better to under-clean an item than to over-clean it.
  • Antique jewelry can often be delicate and requires a gentle touch when cleaning and storing.

The guidelines below are just that and are not guarantees. If you are in doubt about how to clean your jewelry, please contact us or visit the store.

Pieces made of high-karat gold are more prone to denting than those of lower-karat gold and should be stored separately. Any piece that is hollow should be stored likewise.

Some alloys in gold cause tarnishing over time and may darken a little. To clean gold jewelry, immerse in a jar containing a solution of 1/3 ammonia and 2/3 water. You may quickly dip it, or you may leave harder-to-clean pieces in overnight. Brush with a soft toothbrush, rinse in clean water and pat dry.

Platinum

Gemstones

Pearls

Amber, Coral, Shell, Tortoiseshell & Other Organic Materials

Enamel

Silver

There are many other materials used in estate and antique jewelry, a few of which are outlined below. If in doubt about how to clean your piece, the best bet is always to just wipe clean with a very soft, dry brush or cloth.

Pietra Dura and Micromosaic
Pietra dura and micromosaics are both delicate and should be stored in their own box or pouch. To clean, brush with a soft brush and take care not to get wet. Be very careful not to dislodge any inlaid pieces that may be loose.

Cut Steel
By its nature, cut steel is sensitive to moisture. Never let cut steel come in contact with moisture. Moisture causes it to rust and lose its appeal (as well as value). To clean, brush with a soft, dry brush or cloth.

Paste and other closed-back pieces
It is the foil backing that gives paste stones and closed-back pieces their unique beauty. This foil is prone to breakage and disintegration and is almost never replaceable. It is also moisture-sensitive; to clean, use only a soft, dry brush and cloth. Never immerse in water or cleaning solution.

Lava
Lava is an exceptionally porous material and should be cleaned with care. Do not use ammonia, acids or soap. Lava carvings are delicate and easily chipped. Clean with water and a soft toothbrush.

Niello
The sulphur compound in niello is soft and should be treated with care. Store in a separate box or pouch to prevent damage. To clean, gently rub with a paste of baking soda and water; rinse and pat dry.

Butterfly Wings
Butterfly wing jewelry is extremely vulnerable to moisture. Any contact with moisture will destroy the butterfly wing and cause it to lose its luster. You may wipe the setting clean with a silver polishing cloth.

Hairwork
Hair jewelry is very delicate and prone to breakage and should be stored in a separate box or pouch. Do not attempt to clean the hairwork or allow it to come in contact with moisture.

Scarabs
Like hairwork, scarabs are delicate and should be stored away from other jewelry. Do not clean the scarabs with anything other than a very soft, damp brush or cloth.

Portrait Miniatures
Miniatures are very delicate and practically impossible to repair. They should be stored in a separate box or pouch, at a moderate temperature and away from direct sunlight. Portrait miniatures can be painted on many different bases, although the most common base is ivory. The type of paint also varies from piece to piece. As a result, it is very important to proceed with caution when cleaning a miniature. Gently wipe with a very soft cloth, being considerate of any area where the paint may be exposed. The mountings may be wiped with a silver polishing cloth, depending on the material.