Updated: Nov 18
Caring for Vintage Costume Jewelry
Caring for vintage costume jewelry is much different than fine jewelry due to the material differences. Fine jewelry setting are usually made from silver, platinum or gold and have harder surfaces, while costume jewelry setting are usually a base metal covered by rhodium (to look like silver, platinum) or a gold plating or wash. These finishes can be damaged over time by allowing the oils from you skin to remain on the settings.
Fine jewelry have gemstones such as diamonds and emeralds and are typically attached to the settings via prongs. Costume jewelry stones very from basic rhinestones to Austrian crystals and are can be attached via prongs as the fine jewelry are but most are attached via glue. The rhinestones will typically have a foil back that will create the sparkle when viewing the stone. These can be damaged and unglued if you clean the piece as you would a fine piece. Never soak your costume jewelry!
We recommend that you clean yours with a soft tooth brush and rubbing alcohol. Alcohol will remove grim that is built up but evaporate quickly as to not loosen the glue that may be attaching the stone.
Other things that you should not do while wearing your vintage costume jewelry is bath or go swimming while wearing a piece.
Remember your vintage piece may be 60 to 70 years old when you bought it so maintaining your vintage jewelry will prevent damage to the finish and preserve you piece for another 50 years or more.