How to Clean Handmade Costume Jewelry

dangle earrings flowers in bloom sophia

Costume jewelry can be just as valuable to people as fine jewelry, whether it be monetary value or sentimental value. As with all things we value in our life there comes a time when they have to be cleaned, granted, this is not a fun thing to have to do, but we have to do it. In this article I will provide  you with a few tips of how to clean your costume jewelry and handmade jewelry pieces made for fashion without damaging them. You will need to use a very gentle cleaning process.

The dry method is safest for cleaning handmade costume jewelry pieces. Use good lighting such as a lamp you can direct over the pieces you are cleaning or a counter in front of a window where the sun shines through brightly. Remove dirt caked onto the surface with a dry baby toothbrush. Spray compressed air about 1 to 2 inches from the jewelry surfaces to loosen dirt and dust trapped within the jewelry. Use a magnifying glass to inspect handmade jewelry pieces as you clean looking for trapped dirt you miss from normal eye sight inspections. Never use a metal pick while cleaning handmade costume jewelry. Metal picks can easily scratch glass beads and soft gemstones. Use a toothpick to remove the dirt.

Once all your cleaning is complete polish the handmade jewelry piece with a dry and soft cloth. This will remove most fingerprints and smudges and restore the jewelry pieces back to an original shine.

Inspect your cleaning work with a magnifying glass as a final step. If you still see dirt and grime after a dry cleaning process step up to a gentle cleansing solution. Using a gentle soap such as Dawn or Palmolive dishwashing liquid soap, mix one part soap with three parts lukewarm water in a small bowl. Any kind of harsh soap should always be avoided. Use only a mild cleanser and you can purchase cleansers made especially to clean handmade costume jewelry.

Use a cotton swap or the soft-bristled baby toothbrush and dip into the soap/water solution. Tap the brush on side of bowl lightly to shake out excess solution; this step will help you use the least amount of cleanser solution possible as this is best for the jewelry.

Apply light pressure as you gently brush the gems, beads, and metal of your handmade costume jewelry to avoid loosening any of the “putting together mechanisms” of the jewelry pieces.

Quickly rinse cleansed handmade costume jewelry under running lukewarm water. Water can damage costume jewelry, so be careful and do this step quickly, avoiding exposing the jewery to a lot of water. Never immerse handmade costume jewelry into water for long periods of time. Quickly Rinse with lukewarm water, then gently blot excess moisture off the piece of jewelry with a soft, dry or flannel cloth.

Lay cleansed handmade costume jewelry pieces on a paper towel and then run your hair dryer over the pieces on cool setting to hasten the drying period. Allow to completely dry and then polish the piece with a soft, dry or flannel cloth.

If your handmade costume jewelry requires more cleaning after the above procedures you can try a strong cleanser. Use a non-acetone nail polish remover solution or a gentle jewelry cleanser made specifically for cleaning costume jewelry. Read labels and be sure to avoid cleaning agents containing alcohol or vinegar as both of these agents are harmful for cleaning costume jewelry pieces. Be sure the cleanser you choose says on the label that it is safe to use for costume jewelry and you will be fine using it for handmade costume jewelry as well.

Use the same method as described above substituting your home cleaning remedy with a store bought cleanser. Avoid scrubbing around areas of jewelry where glue has been used or you may loosen the adhesive properties of the glue.

Written by: Connie Limon for Carmilita’s Handmade Jewelry

Find me on Etsy here: Carmilita’s Earrings

dangle earrings flowers in bloom sophiaMeet Sophia

Sophia is a pair of dangle earrings dangling from the hook about 1 1/2 inch. I added her to Carmilita’s Flowers in Bloom Dangle Earring Collection. She actually has somewhat of an “Italian” look to her. I think Sophia is appropriate to wear just about anywhere from morning to night and would look great with outfits focusing upon red or black or a combination of those colors. Her look is complimented by gold jewelry components. I believe Sophia has two focal points. One is the start of her which is a dangling ruby red 4 mm glass crystal rondelle bead that adds a dangle twist all its own. I used eye pins to create the rest of this pair of earrings where the beautiful and happy looking red flower bead capped with a fancy gold bead cap brings out more of her “Italian flare” personality.

Materials used:

2 gold plated 11 x 15 mm leverback earring hooks

2 gold plated ball pins

4 gold plated eyepins

2 antique gold plated 3x8mm Fancy Bead Caps

2 red 6×12 mm flower beads

2 black onyx 8 mm seimprecious round beads

2 ruby red AB 6×4 mm glass crystal rondelles

2 black 6×4 mm glass crystal rondelles

Meaning to the name Sophia: The name Sophia is Greek by most definitions, but is also used in many other languages including “Italian.” It is sometimes ironic how when I finish pieces of my costume jewelry that a name just suddenly appears to me and when I look for the meaning to the name which is often the very first time I even think of a meaning to names, I find the names seem to fit the newly made pair of earrings, at least, from my standpoint. Another person may see them completely different.

The name Sophia was the name of an early, probably mythical “saint” who died of grief after her three daughters were martyred. Legends go on to say she probably arose as a result of a medieval misunderstanding of the phrase “Hagia Sophia” meaning “Holy Wisdom,” which was name to a large basilica in Constantinople.

Sophia was a common name among continental European royalty during the Middle Ages. In Britain, the German House of Hanover made this name popular when they inherited the British throne in the 18th century. Sophia was also the name of characters in the novels ‘Tom Jones’ (1749) by Henry Fielding and ‘The Vicar of Wakefield’ (1766) by Oliver Goldsmith.

I find these little bits of information about meaning of names I choose for my costume jewelry pieces “interesting to know,” and most usually also learn the name that appears to me somehow fits the piece just created.

Sophia Price includes shipping charges. She will be shipped in a secure package within a beautiful organza bag suitable for gift giving or to add to your own collection of costume jewelry pieces.

Sophia’s price is $15 (includes shipping)

Purchase Sophia here: Carmilita’s Handmade Jewelry