Vintage Costume Jewelry needs special attention when you clean it. Read on for tips on how to clean your costume jewelry.
Some costume jewelry will turned green. This is called verdigris and is a patina that occurs on copper, brass or bronze over time and can appear on your vintage costume jewelry because it was made with these metals in it. It is not something that you want to leave on your jewelry as it will start to decay it. Ketchup and vinegar can be used, but I think that lemon juice is better. You can use a q-tip or soft toothbrush to help get to the hard to reach places. You may find that the finish has been compromised from the vendigris, but that is better than loosing the piece to decay.
Scratching can ruin the old stones in your piece and make it look dull. To keep it looking like new always store it so that it isn't touching your other jewelry or wrap it with a old wash cloth. Zip lock bags work well for storage, too. If you have a room, displaying your jewelry in a curio cabinet is a great idea.
Vintage costume jewelry are usually set with prongs but some may still have glue to keep them in. You want to be careful and look at your piece before you put it in a jewelry cleaner full of jewelry cleaning solution. It will soften the glue. You particularly want to be careful with pieces that have colored backing as this will chip away or dissolve. Also, any pieces that are faux pearls will loose their outter shell or chip away and be ruined if put in water or any cleaning solution.
If your decide that your jewelry does meet the above criteria and you cannot soak it in a jewelry cleaning solution , then use a q-tip or soft toothbrush and the cleaning solution to clean your jewelry.
Finish up by using a very soft jewelry cleaning cloth to make your jewelry glow.
Make sure your jewelry is completely dry before you put it away as moisture is what causes verdigris.