Keeping your antique jewellery in great condition

Antique jewellery should be considered an investment piece; something that you can pass down to your children in the future. If you look after your antique jewellery well you can ensure it holds its value for years to come. Different types of antique jewellery require different methods of care, depending on the materials from which they are made; this short guide should help you to keep your pieces in excellent condition:

  • Wear with care: Due to its age, some antique jewellery can be very difficult to repair, so it's vital that you wear it with care. Any repair work that you have done on your antique jewellery pieces could also potentially lower its value. Remember to remove it prior to doing any physical activities, or when using household cleaners as many of them contain chemicals and abrasives that can damage jewellery.
  • Store properly: Dust and dirt can have an abrasive effect if they come into contact with the metalwork and gemstones in your antique jewellery. It's vital that you store each piece of jewellery separately in a soft pouch to prevent dust from getting to them. It's also important to store each piece separately as even the strongest of stones can chip when they're in contact with other stones.
  • Clean gently: When cleaning your antique jewellery be sure to use a specially designed polishing cloth. Start by wiping away any grime and dust from the stones using glass cleaner and a soft cloth. Grime and dirt can erode gemstones over time so regular cleaning is essential.
  • Don't get it wet: It's important not to submerge your jewellery or hold it directly under running water. Moisture under the stones could loosen them, meaning you may end up losing them whilst you're wearing your jewellery.
  • Caring for Bakelite: Bakelite is sensitive to sunlight and doesn't respond too well to changes in temperature. It is best to store it out of direct sunlight, preferably wrapped in a soft cloth.
  • Caring for pearls: Pearls are very delicate and prone to damage from pollution, cosmetics, chlorinated water, and excessive heat. Keep them clean with a soft, lint-free cloth and store them separately from your other jewellery.
  • Cameos: Cameos tend to be prone to discolouration and cracking, which is caused by drying and ageing, so they require particularly special care:
  1. Store them in a clean, dry place, separate from your other jewellery.
  2. Clean them several times a year with a soft-bristled toothbrush and mild soapy water. Rinse immediately with warm water, and never soak a cameo for longer than 30 seconds.
  3. Keep your cameos moisturised with mineral oil or baby oil, applied with a finger, cotton bud or a soft cloth. Allow the oil to soak in overnight.