Costume jewelry is a great way to add some sparkle and style to your outfits without breaking the bank. Whether you love vintage pieces, statement earrings, or trendy necklaces, costume jewelry can help you express your personality and mood.
However, costume jewelry is not as durable as fine jewelry, and it can tarnish, fade, or break easily if not cared for properly. Costume jewelry is often made from non-precious metals, such as brass, copper, or nickel, which can oxidize and corrode over time. It may also have artificial gemstones, beads, or crystals that are glued or plated onto the metal base, which can fall off or lose their shine.
That’s why it’s important to know how to clean and maintain your costume jewelry so that it lasts longer and looks better. In this article, we will share some tips and tricks on how to care for costume jewelry and keep it in good condition.
Cleaning Costume Jewelry
The first step to caring for costume jewelry is to keep it clean. Dirt, dust, oils, and products can build up on your jewelry and make it look dull and dirty. Cleaning your costume jewelry regularly can help prevent tarnish and damage, and restore its shine and beauty.
However, cleaning costume jewelry is not the same as cleaning fine jewelry. You should avoid using harsh chemicals, bleach, oil, or jewelry cleaners on costume jewelry, as they can affect the finish and cause discoloration or peeling. Instead, you should use a gentle and simple method that won’t harm your jewelry.
Here’s how to clean costume jewelry the right way:
- Gather all the costume jewelry you want to clean and sort it by material. Different materials may require different cleaning methods, so it’s best to separate them before you start.
- Use a soft brush (such as a toothbrush) to gently remove any dirt or dust from the surface of your jewelry. Be careful not to scratch or damage the metal or the stones.
- Use a microfiber cloth to wipe your jewelry with a mild dish soap and warm water solution. Do not submerge your jewelry in water, as this can loosen the glue or damage the plating. Just dampen the cloth slightly and rub it over your jewelry.
- Rinse your jewelry with another clean cloth dipped in plain water. Make sure to remove any soap residue from your jewelry.
- Dry your jewelry thoroughly with a dry cloth or a hair dryer on low heat. Do not leave your jewelry wet or damp, as this can cause rust or tarnish.
- Polish your jewelry with a polishing cloth or a soft cotton cloth to restore its shine and luster.
Storing Costume Jewelry
The second step to caring for costume jewelry is to store it properly. How you store your costume jewelry can affect its longevity and appearance. Improper storage can expose your jewelry to moisture, air, sunlight, or dust, which can cause tarnish, fading, or breakage.
- Store each piece of jewelry in an individual plastic bag or pouch. This can prevent your jewelry from scratching each other or getting tangled. It can also protect your jewelry from humidity and oxidation.
- Store your plastic bags or pouches in a closed jewelry box or drawer. This can keep your jewelry away from direct sunlight, heat, or dust, which can damage your jewelry over time.
- Store your jewelry box or drawer in a cool and dry place. Avoid storing your jewelry in damp areas such as bathrooms or basements, as this can cause mold or rust.
- Store your delicate or valuable pieces separately from your everyday pieces. This can prevent them from getting damaged by frequent use or handling.
Wearing Costume Jewelry
The third step to caring for costume jewelry is to wear it wisely. How you wear your costume jewelry can also affect its durability and appearance. Some activities or situations can expose your jewelry to sweat, water, chemicals, or friction, which can harm your jewelry.
Here are some dos and don’ts of wearing costume jewelry:
- Do put on your jewelry last after getting dressed and applying makeup, perfume, lotion, hairspray, or any other products. This can prevent your products from getting on your jewelry and causing stains or damage.
- Do take off your jewelry before going to bed or working out. This can prevent your jewelry from getting snagged on clothing or bedding, or getting damaged by sweat or friction.
- Do remove your jewelry before showering, swimming, cooking, cleaning, or doing any other activities that involve water, heat, or chemicals. This can prevent your jewelry from getting wet, rusted, tarnished, or discolored.
- Do wipe your jewelry with a soft cloth after wearing it. This can remove any dirt, oils, or sweat from your jewelry and keep it clean and shiny.
Repairing Costume Jewelry
The fourth step to caring for costume jewelry is to repair it if needed. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your costume jewelry may get damaged or broken. This can happen due to wear and tear, accidents, or poor quality. However, this doesn’t mean you have to throw away your jewelry or buy new ones. You can try to fix your costume jewelry yourself or take it to a professional jeweler for repair.
Here are some common problems and solutions for costume jewelry:
- If your jewelry is tarnished or discolored, you can try to restore its color by using a metal polish or a baking soda and vinegar solution. Apply the polish or the solution to your jewelry with a soft cloth and rub gently until the tarnish is gone. Rinse and dry your jewelry well afterwards.
- If your jewelry is missing a stone, bead, or crystal, you can try to glue it back on with a strong adhesive such as super glue or E6000. Make sure to clean the area where the stone was before applying the glue. Press the stone firmly onto the glue and let it dry completely.
- If your jewelry is broken or snapped, you can try to fix it with a soldering iron or a wire cutter and pliers. You may need some extra metal wire or jump rings to reconnect the broken parts. Be careful not to burn yourself or damage your jewelry with the soldering iron.
- If your jewelry is too loose or too tight, you can try to adjust it with a pair of pliers or a hammer. You can bend, twist, or hammer the metal parts of your jewelry to make them fit better. Be gentle and avoid cracking or breaking your jewelry.