How To Clean Your Vintage Or Antique Sterling Silver Jewelry

A patina or the natural darkening  that occurs on aged silver jewelry is considered highly desirable. The reason for this is because it shows the beautiful details of workmanship that went in to produce the jewelry. The engraving found in some elaborate silver pieces take on a darker patina where the surfaces are low and appear more lustrous.

Many silver collectors prefer older vintage silver jewelry with its wonderful patina that develops with wear and age, over the bright shiny appearance of newer silver.

By wearing your silver jewelry all the time while you either work, play or relax, you’ll notice the surface changing to this darker sheen. Hundreds of tiny scratches are being created on the silver’s surface area softening and enhancing the metal’s appearance and leaving recessed areas dark.


Cleaning your sterling silver jewelry should be done carefully trying to not cause damage or take off the aged patina created from wear. You can get mild jewelry solutions from stores or your local jeweler that soak the dirt off without ruining the patina, or even a soft jewelry cloth. A super soft toothbrush can be used for getting into crevices.

Silver should then be rinsed thoroughly and blown dry to avoid any spotting. Be very careful when cleaning your jewelry with a liquid solution that none of the other parts that aren’t silver get destroyed if they get wet. Antique photos inside a charm or pendant will become damaged if they get water or solution on them and be ruined.

There are cleaning cloths that are effective for cleaning silver. These cloths are treated with a special chemical and a non-scratch micro-abrasive. When using these cloths, you  must first clean dust or any surface dirt away. Rub the surface gently to be polished. You can get these cleaning cloths online or at jewelry stores. They are very effective and also easy to use.

Do not use any harsh dipping solutions on your vintage style rings, necklaces, or bracelets. These dipping solutions will damage the surfaces of very fine older pieces. When using silver polish, make sure it is a gentile polishing paste.Wipe polish on with soft cloth, being careful not to get paste in the grooves or crevices. Try to avoid removing darker color from low areas as to retain relief and contrast.

Your best solution though for cleaning your jewelry is to wear it all the time, even while bathing, washing dishes or even swimming. This will change your original shiny sterling into a deep lustrous, rich-looking piece which you’ll enjoy for a long time.


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