Silver and Gold: How to Clean and Care for Antique Jewelry

Silver and Gold: How to Clean and Care for Antique Jewelry 1254 836 Gaslight Square Shoppes

Antique jewelry ring being gently cleanedAntique jewelry is defined as over a century old. Because of the advanced age, caring and cleaning precious pieces may be a little different from the jewelry you bought yesterday.

Antique Jewelry Cleaning Agents

The kind of mixture or cleaning agents you use will probably be based on the kind of antique jewelry you have, as well as its condition.  As a general rule, antique jewelry is too fragile for harsh cleaning agents you would normally use for jewelry, such as ammonia. Instead, focus on your cleaning technique more than the chemicals you use. In many cases, simply using dishwasher soap will be enough.

The Cleaning Process

To clean your antique jewelry, you have to be soft and persistent instead of harsh and fast. It’s common to use tools such as a soft toothbrush or washcloth to soak the cleaning solution and rub the jewelry with. Once the jewelry is covered, wash it with cold water. You can repeat the process until you’re satisfied!


You can try a solution of three-parts baking soda to one-part water for jewelry that has more discoloration or is excessively tarnished. This is usually the case for silver jewelry.


Gold is far less likely to become discolored or tarnished than silver. This means that you don’t have to reach for cleaning solutions on your first try. What you can do first is give the jewelry a rinse in warm water. Then, softly dislodge the residue with a soft-bristled toothbrush. If that doesn’t work, you can add a little dish soap to help get the job done. And ta-da! Your antique jewelry is good as new.

Give Your Antique Jewelry a Little TLC

To keep jewelry in top shape, make sure not to wear it while exercising, using harsh chemicals or cooking. Also, you’ll want to store the pieces in a cool, dry place — preferably a special jewelry box.

Still not sure how to clean your precious pieces? Stop by Gaslight Antiques and ask the experts.