How do I Clean and Care for my Estate Jewelry?

Estate and antique jewelry can be the most precious pieces in people's collections. There's a certain kind of sentimental value that comes from wearing Grandma's engagement ring, or sporting the vintage 1920s necklace that makes you feel like a lady detective. But wearing your jewelry is the easy part, of course—when it comes time for caring for and cleaning estate jewelry, however, people often have a lot of questions about the best ways to do so. Never fear—here at Noe's in Raymore, Missouri, we have all the answers to your questions!

Caring for your estate jewelry is a matter of as much common sense as education. Don't toss it around, don't let it get tangled or set it where it may be knocked off a shelf or damaged, and so on. As for specifics, just take a little time with your pieces. Store your jewelry separately, either in different compartments in your jewelry box or in little pouches, so it doesn't get scratched or tangled. And don't sleep in it!

As for cleaning… honestly, the best way to keep your estate jewelry clean is to not get it dirty in the first place. Take off your rings before gardening or cooking, or even applying hair spray, perfume, and certainly dyeing your hair. And remember—precious metals like your gold wedding band or antique silver bracelets are at risk of being damaged by chemicals found in common household cleaning agents. Even chlorine from your pool can damage your heirlooms, such as causing discoloration in your gemstones.

When cleaning jewelry, first things first: Close the drain on your sink! Now that we have that out of the way, don't use anything you'd take your rings off to use around the house. Keep it simple when cleaning your estate jewelry and colorful gemstones: a soft brush or ear wipe, warm water, and liquid jewelry cleaner (keep in mind that soap, even mild soap, will leave a film on your jewelry). You can also a water pick or toothpick to get into those tiny crevices or hard-to-reach places. Then use a soft cloth to dry and polish your jewelry—chemical polishes are too harsh!

As for gemstones, they all require different care. For example, wipe pearls down with a soft cloth after wearing them, removing any perfume, makeup, or body oil that might have gotten on them. Never clean opals or turquoise in an ultrasonic cleaner, but harder stones like amethysts, diamonds, citrine, garnets are all fine for such a device. Emeralds should never be put in an ultrasonic cleaner; it dissolves the stone's natural oils (actually, you should consider having your emeralds re-oiled by a jeweler every once in a while).

Remember—if you have any questions, the best thing to do is to take your jewelry to be cleaned by your friendly Kansas City Area jewelry store. Noe's knows how to take care of your estate jewelry, and we're happy to do so. We even sell liquid jewelry cleaner to those who prefer to clean their jewelry at home. It’s $4.95 a bottle and refills are FREE!

If you're interested in getting your estate jewelry professionally cleaned, visit us online at Noe's Jewelry or in person at our jewelry store in Raymore, Missouri.