• Antiques in Oxford

Looking after antique jewellery

Updated: Feb 11

Buying antique jewellery at auction is growing in popularity with a new generation of jewellery enthusiasts. The combination of unique pieces by esteemed makers at inexpensive prices is an attractive proposition. But how do you ensure the pieces you buy remain in pristine condition?


Be careful where and when you wear it

Jewellery, especially antique jewellery, needs care and attention not to deteriorate or to get damaged. It is strongly advised that you don’t wear your jewellery to do DIY, gardening, sporting activities and housework, or whilst swimming.


Keep your jewellery in individual pouches or cases

You should keep your jewellery in velvet or suede pouches or individual jewellery cases, rather than letting it all roll around in a drawer or jewellery case, where it will definitely get scratched, and quite possibly tangled and damaged.


Pearl jewellery should be

wiped from time to time with a soft lint-free cloth to prevent the build-up of dirt and cosmetics dulling their lustre. Antique jewellery set with foil-backed stones should never be immersed in any liquid as this could irreparably damage the coloured foiling. The same goes for jewellery where the stones are stuck into their settings with stone cement-like half pearl Edwardian jewellery. Immersing this in liquid can soften the cement and allow the half pearls to fall out.

From time to time, you can give your jewellery a very gentle wash in warm water and mild detergent, such as washing-up liquid, to remove grease and other build ups that may make it tarnish or look dull. A gentle brush with an old toothbrush can work wonders, but be careful not to dislodge any of the stones in their settings. A deeper clean and polish should only be undertaken by a professional jewellery workshop.


Be careful with liquids, cosmetics and household chemicals

Some stones such as opals, pearl, coral and turquoise can be quite porous, so you shouldn’t leave these stones in any liquid for too long. Similarly, take care when using cosmetics and hair spray and other household chemicals near these stones, or they may become discoloured.


Keep pearls, foil-backed stones and stone cement out of liquids all together

Pearl jewellery should be wiped from time to time with a soft lint free cloth to prevent the build-up of dirt and cosmetics dulling their lustre. Antique jewellery set with foil-backed stones should never be immersed in any liquid as this could irreparably damage the coloured foiling. The same goes for jewellery where the stones are struck into their settings with stone cement like half pearl Edwardian jewellery. Immersing this in liquid can soften the cement and allow the half pearls to fall out.





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