Finding Gorgeous Jewelry Pieces

Savvy Tips For Cleaning Your Old Jewelry Pieces At Home

by Barry Graves

Your grandmother's broach, that piece you picked up at an estate sale, or that one necklace your mother used to wear — these old pieces that are hanging out in your jewelry box probably have special value to you. Unfortunately, old jewelry also has a reputation for looking dingy and dirty if it has not been tended to in a lot of years. 

There are some things you can do at home to clean up those old pieces and remove the dull from their shine. Here are a few savvy tips to help you clean those older vintage jewelry pieces you have in your jewelry box. 

Create your own ion exchange cleaning system. 

Line a small bowl with aluminum foil from your pantry, fill the bowl with lukewarm water, and then add a teaspoon of powdered laundry detergent or borax if you have it on hand. The combination of the aluminum and the soap creates an ion exchange process that works wonders for sloughing away old stains on metal jewelry pieces. Soak your piece for a few minutes, then pull it out and rinse off the solution and dry with a soft towel. 

Use toothpaste to make gemstones sparkle again.  

Grab a soft-bristled toothbrush and a baking-soda based toothpaste (not gel type). Dab just a touch of toothpaste on the toothbrush, moisten it with warm water and then get to work scrubbing those old diamonds, rubies, or other gemstones in your vintage jewelry pieces. The baking soda toothpaste will break down any stubborn stains like it does to the tarter on your teeth, so the sparkle of those old stones will quickly emerge. 

Rub ketchup onto tarnished pieces to bring back shine. 

Ketchup is a secret tool that can be used to bring the shine back to tarnished silver, brass, and some other precious metals. The compounds in the ketchup break down the tarnish, and you can wipe it away with a soft cloth. Simply use a small dab (it does not take much) and rub away years' worth of tarnish in a few minutes. You can even use a small scrub brush to get the ketchup down into little crevices. 

There is a lot you can do on your own to make an old piece of jewelry sparkle like it once did. However, if you have a piece of vintage jewelry that is severely discolored or in disrepair, reach out to a jewelry repair professional for good advice.