Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How to Care and Store for Vintage Jewelry - Not all Jewelry Boxes are Equal

You have started shopping and now have a nice collection of vintage or antique jewelry. How do you make sure that the jewelry keeps its condition so that it will continue to increase in value over time? All vintage jewelry needs to be stored and cared for so that it stays that way. This page is devoted to tips for taking care of your precious vintage jewelry.

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Here are some general storing tips:

Scratching. Be careful that your jewelry is stored so that the pieces don't rub against each other. If not, you will end up with general scratching, or even loss of stones which will devalue the piece. Leave room between the pieces and, if they are especially treasured, a soft pouch or cloth around them might be considered.

Temperature changes. Guard against any big increases or decreases in temperature. These can affect the glue and also cause stones to fall out.

Moisture This is vintage jewelry's biggest enemy. It can be the breeding ground for Verdigris damage or rust damage, and pitting of metals. Also, rhinestone jewelry is at risk of losing the foil backing of the rhinestones and loss of their luster if moisture comes in contact with them. Make sure that the jewelry is completely dry after any cleaning is done before putting them away.

Household jobs. It is important to remove jewelry when doing household cleaning and other jobs, and particularly when doing any heavier cleaning or yard work or gardening.

Containers. Not all containers are equal when it comes to storing jewelry. Oak cabinets give off fumes that can damage jewelry, so an oak jewelry box may not be the best bet. Many jewelry pieces come in small boxes, designed to store the piece. Even these can cause damage, in time, because they probably contain sulphur, which can damage the metal in gold and silver jewelry, so they should be used for short term storage. Other good choices are metal or plastic containers and zip lock bags. (Zip locks are especially good for rhinestone jewelry...if a stone gets stays in the bag!)

General storing tips. Try to remember to keep the jewelry items separate from each other. Be sure to store beaded jewelry flat, especially if it is strung on silk, because silk stretches over time. Finally, keep jewelry away from sunlight, heat vents, and hot car interiors.

With a bit of common sense and a few easy rules, it will be easy to keep your collection looking great for years to come. Check back soon, when I will be giving some quick tips on cleaning your vintage jewelry.

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