Your jewelry has value that transcends its monetary value. A treasured jewel can be an amulet of protection, or a reminder of someone you love. For this reason it is important to have any pieces you wear often checked by a trusted jeweler, about every six months. It is common for gemstones to loosen over time, so we encourage these "regular checkups" to avoid possible losses. Gemstones can be replaced, but it is much easier to shore-up a setting, than it is to replace an antique gem. Keep reading for our advice about best-practices, when it comes to wearing (and caring for) antique jewelry.
CLEANING YOUR ANTIQUE & VINTAGE JEWELRY
Cleaning your jewelry on a regular basis will keep it looking its best, and it will make you feel good about your role as its caretaker. Most pieces that are suitable for daily wear can be carefully cleaned using lukewarm water, mild detergent (a gentle dish soap like Mrs. Meyers is fine) and a soft toothbrush. Simply fill a non-abrasive container (a small, plastic rubbermaid bin is ideal) half-full with soapy water, submerge your jewelry in the water for a short time, and scrub it gently with the brush. You can rinse your jewels under a gentle stream of running water, as long as you are working over your container, in a well-stoppered sink. Alternatively, you can rinse them in a second container, using only clear water. Then blot your jewelry dry with a paper towel or a soft cloth. Pay special attention to the undersides of your rings, as this is where oils build up and dull the look of your gemstones, and to any areas with fine detail, or open-work.
Consider keeping a soft jewelry polishing cloth on hand (we like Fabulustre and Mayflower) for brightening up your metal, when a little extra polish is desired.
DAILY WEAR / CONSTANT WEAR
If you are unsure of wether or not your jewelry is suitable for daily wear, please ask. Daily wear does not mean constant wear, and any ring (even those that are newly made) worn 24-hours-a-day will require maintenance.
Please note that many of our oldest pieces should never be exposed to water. Georgian era jewelry (for example) often features closed-back settings, and foiled gemstones— these jewels should always be removed before you even wash your hands. Very old jewelry is sometimes made with materials that require special care. Please get in touch if you have questions about any of our pieces, or how to care for them. We are happy to help!
While it's true that some jewelry requires extra care, all jewelry should be treated with consideration for its "decorative" nature. Please remove your jewelry when you are bathing, cleaning, gardening, working-out, or participating in other "active" outdoor activities. Do not wear your jewelry while enjoying a day at the hot springs— while this water is good for you, it may not be good for your jewelry.
Avoiding chemicals (as in household cleaners), hand-sanitizers, excessive heat, and prolonged exposure to water is recommended for all jewelry (new and old). We also recommend removing your jewelry at night— sleeping in your rings can be harder on them than you might imagine.
If you can create a practice around caring for your jewelry, it will stay beautiful for another lifetime. We also think these mindfulness practices become comforting rituals, in time.
Remember, jewelry is adornment, not equipment!