expertly curated vintage

How to care for your Jewelry

Kimberly Klosterman, Meredith Kahn and Bliss Lau weigh in on mindful preservation tactics for keeping the sparkle in your favorite vintage pieces. 

PHOTOGRAPHY_ carlton davis

RENÉ MORIN FOR CHAUMET_ TORQUE_ 18-KARAT GOLD_ 1970S_ COLLECTION OF KIMBERLY KLOSTERMAN 

AT HOME_

1_Most jewelry can easily be cleaned by a solution of mild soapy water and a toothbrush. But make sure to do this over a bowl and not the sink in case any stones become loose or fall out. 

2_Pearls can also be cleaned with a mild soapy solution with a very soft brush. Attend to each pearl individually so you don't get the string soaked.  Pearls can scratch so take care here. Let air dry completely before storing in a soft bag or box. Do not store in plastic. 

3_Do not store gold jewelry with sterling. Over a period of time it could cause the gold to oxidize.

4_Always, always apply jewelry last, after perfume and hair product. 

WHEN YOU NEED A PROFESSIONAL_

1_It's good to have a professional jeweler examine fine jewelry with diamonds or precious stones to make sure the settings are secure.

2_If you are having a ring re-sized, be sure the jeweler notices if there is a makers mark and where the mark is so they can preserve it. 

3_If you are testing for gold, do not let them saw into the piece. 

4_ If you have a piece professionally cleaned, make sure they do not polish the piece and ruin the patina. The patina is the mello color that is acquired with age, an aggressive polish could make the piece appear new and garish. The exception would be if the piece has a highly polished smooth surface. 

GILBERT ALBERT_ UNIQUE CONVERTIBLE NECKLACE, BRACELET AND BROOCH_ 18-KARAT GOLD AND AMBER_ 1970S_ COLLECTION OF KIMBERLY KLOSTERMAN

DAVID THOMAS_ UNIQUE BROOCH_ 18-KARAT GOLD AND DIAMONDS_ 1960S_ COLLECTION OF KIMBERLY KLOSTERMAN

1_ Always store your jewelry inside of a pouch or a box. This will decrease the amount of oxygen that your piece of Jewelry is exposed to, and will reduce the oxidation that can occur over time.

2_ Be thoughtful about how and when you wear your jewelry. I don't recommend wearing jewelry of any kind during intense physical activity or work outs. The sweat, oils and impact can damage the metals and stones in your jewelry. 

3_ Water or not to water? I try to always remove most of my jewelry while I bathe. The soaps and perfumes used in your products, along with the water, will leave a film on your Jewelry and can also leave a residue inside the tiny crevices between your stone settings.  

4_ Invest in a small ultrasonic machine to clean your jewelry. You can put most of your jewelry, including Gold, Silver, Gold-Filled, Brass and any stones other than Pearls, inside of them and within a few minutes, all of the dirt, oil and residue gets removed, and brings back the shine that you may have lost due to wear.   

1_ Be present when in motion. Just know your jewelry is on your body, respect and love your jewelry while you wear it and it will last you a lifetime. 

2_ Fine jewelry is like any luxury item that endures daily use, it needs a mechanic! Every few years bring your jewelry in to be checked out by a professional to see if any little prongs need tightening or antique pieces could use metal added to them.  

3_ I don’t suggest getting jewelry 'professionally polished' -doing so makes it look new but subtracts metal and therefore strength- always better to love and accept the beauty in a piece. A professional cleaning with steam however I do suggest whenever it is convenient for you!