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Estate Jewelry Cleaning Tips


C. 1980 Vintage Opal and 1.40 ct. t.w. Diamond Cocktail Ring in 14kt Yellow Gold #817552

Caution: Before attempting to clean any item of Estate jewelry, it is always recommended that you bring it to your trusted jeweler for expert advice about cleaning each individual piece.

Maybe it's a vintage Retro-era pearl pin for your lapel. Or perhaps that colorful gemstone cocktail ring from the '70s that you've had your eye on for quite some time. Whatever the piece, you have finally made your Estate jewelry purchase and you couldn't be happier. Now all that's left to do is wear it and enjoy it, right?

Not exactly. According to Tom, our Estate buyer, there's one rule of thumb that should accompany any Estate jewelry purchase: Keep it clean.

"Be careful with your Estate pieces," Tom advises. "Treat them very gently and always seek expert advice from a professional."

Here are a few specific tips on cleaning Estate jewelry from Tom:

Avoid ultra-sonic cleanings as these may be too harsh for some pieces. Organics, especially, like pearl and coral, will be damaged.

Purchase a pearl cleaner for pearls and only use this on your pearl jewelry. Also, wear your pearls frequently as natural body oils are good for gaining luster.

Store your vintage opal jewelry in a small jar with a damp absorbent cloth when you are not wearing it to control "crazing" (small cracks in the stone).

Avoid using a polish wheel as these will remove the patina from jewelry. Avoid all abrasives and home remedies as these could possibly scratch the item.

For emeralds never use the ultra-sonic cleaner. A liquid jewelry cleaner and soft cloth is fine

Another suggestion is that you bring your Estate jewelry to a jeweler periodically for an inspection. (Note: there never should be a charge for this.)

Check especially for loose prongs, which if undetected, can lead to a stone getting lost. How many times have you hit your hand on the granite countertop in your kitchen? Or dropped your earring on the tile floor? Every rough contact like this has the potential to loosen prongs, and that's how stones disappear. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

So with a little common sense, some professional input and a lot of TLC, your Estate pieces should remain in wonderful condition for you to enjoy and wear all the time.

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