While fine jewelry has its time and place, you can never go wrong with a piece of costume jewelry. You can give thanks to the famous Coco Chanel for the advent and continuing popularity of costume jewelry since previous to her time women seldom wore anything but the real thing. Whether your tastes run to new and modern or to the uniqueness of vintage pieces, costume jewelry is never going out of style. Caring for those vintage pieces is of utmost importance, so read on for some tips on ensuring that your older pieces are just as lovely as your new pieces. 

Plastic and Bakelite Pieces

Costume pieces made of these two materials can be affected by light. When not in use, place them carefully in a lined box and keep them in the dark. Cleaning is a breeze, and there's no need to overdo it. Just wipe away body oils and other dirt with a soft cloth before you store them. If the pieces appear to be dulling in shine, you can bring that soft glow back by buffing gently with a bit of beeswax.

Metal Pieces

Most costume pieces are comprised of at least a little metal, and metal is vulnerable to something called verdigris. Verdigris appears as an ugly greenish mold on the metal areas of your costume pieces, and it's not only unattractive but also can be very damaging to your jewelry as well. You should immediately separate your affected pieces from the others since verdigris can be contagious and it will spread. Luckily, you might be able to clean the verdigris from your jewelry before the metal beneath becomes pitted and weak.

Acid-based and easy-to-find products like vinegar, lemon juice, and ketchup can work to remove the verdigris so that no further damage can be done. Apply a coating of the acid-based product and allow it to stay on your affected piece for up to 30 minutes or so. Using a soft toothbrush, dislodge the verdigris gently and then wipe the remaining product away. You may notice that some of the metal finish is lost when your piece is clean and dry, but unfortunately, that is unavoidable. In the future, examine your pieces and keep them clean before you store them away.

Costume Jewelry Care Tips

  • Wait until after you've sprayed your scent and hair products before you add your jewelry. Many hair and scent products contain alcohol which can damage costume jewelry.

  • When not using, place your jewelry in a closed box, away from light, moisture, and dust.

  • Plastic bags might seem like a good idea, but pieces that are sealed in plastic might be affected by the trapped moisture.

Your costume jewelry can become treasures in their own way, so treat them well, and they will provide you with years of enjoyment. For more information, contact a company like Patti Esbia Antique & Estate Jewelry.