Taking Care of Vintage Jewelry and Watches: Experts Tips to Consider

Heirloom pieces are not always expensive, but their sentimental value is priceless. Taking care of these vintage pieces of jewelry and watches can be challenging, but here are expert tips and tricks from professionals you should consider.

Choose and Use Cleaning Products Based on their Material

Although having professionals make some retouches on your jewelry and watch images is an excellent way to make them look good as new in photos – you can make them look good in person by using the right cleaning product. Remember that not all antique pieces should be equally treated when it comes to cleaning, and it’s best to use products based on the metal type of your jewelry and clock face. That’s because the chemical compositions of different materials vary, so some solutions’ effect over the other also depends.

For example, gold naturally darkens over time, and you can quickly remedy this by cleaning it with diluted ammonia. Meanwhile, a baking soda and water solution is best for silver pieces. For platinum pieces, using something as simple as a dish detergent can go a long way. In essence, pick the best product for your vintage pieces’ specific material to avoid damage and prolong its service.

However, if you’re having difficulty deciding what works best for your jewelry or watch, getting a professional opinion is ideal. You can contact your local jeweler or antique shop to confirm the best cleaning products for them.

Clean with a Soft Brush

Regardless of the cleaning solution you choose when cleaning your jewelry or watch piece, make sure to dust them off for the best results, cleaning out any particles using a soft brush. Avoid using hard-bristled brushes because they can easily damage jewelry and watch surfaces thanks to their relatively intricate structure. Additionally, dust and debris present on your vintage pieces can’t be seen by the naked eye, so it’s helpful to use loupes or magnifying glasses.

However, if you notice anything ‘off’ about your classic pieces, clean it out using a soft-bristled brush for the best results.

Always Dry the Pieces

Drying your vintage jewelry piece or watch is one of the most crucial steps when taking care of them. Once you’ve chosen the cleaning product best for your timeless piece, help it get back to its optimal condition by ensuring it’s wholly dry. That’s because any droplet of liquid left on the jewelry piece or watch can be severely damaging, causing its metal parts to rust over time.

The best way to dry the jewelry and watch pieces after cleaning is to flip them upside down for at least 15 minutes, allowing any leftover moisture to flow away from the vintage pieces with gravity. Wiping it down can make the matter worse, so it’s best to let it air-dry.

Always Polish After Cleaning the Pieces

After cleaning your jewelry pieces and watches, always ensure you polish them using a special cloth, which you can get in vintage shops. These are inexpensive and can help add more shine and sparkle to your vintage goods.


Storage plays a crucial role in vintage jewelry pieces and watch care. The best option you have is storing them inside cotton-lined boxes at moderate room temperatures. Additionally, when arranging your jewelry and watches, make sure it doesn’t make contact with one another.

Other ideal storage options are anti-tarnish paper tabs and anti-corrosion and anti-tarnish zip-lock bags. These can protect solver, nickel, gold, copper, bronze, tin, brass, magnesium, platinum, and other base metals. Both storage options can last for several months in regular containers and up to a whole year in sealed air-tight containers. Additionally, these items are non-toxic, making them secure and safe for your classic pieces – and your health.

Be Gentle

Keep in mind that vintage pieces are typically more fragile than modern ones. That’s because years ago, brands didn’t have access to high-tech materials manufacturers have today that makes jewelry and watches more durable. Some antique metal bracelets have hollow links instead of the solid links commonly used today, making them lighter but prone to damage.

So, when it comes to caring for these things, make sure to be extra gentle, even when you’re merely cleaning it or doing repairs.

Avoid Water at All Costs

Finally, when caring for vintage jewelry and watch pieces, one of the most crucial things to remember is to avoid water at all costs. That’s because yesteryear’s products were manufactured without considering the effects of water on the goods.

Inheriting or scoring a beautiful piece of genuine antique jewelry or watch can be exciting. However, you wouldn’t want to neglect it once you bring it back home – and the tips mentioned can help you ensure their optimal condition long-term.