Caring for Your Handmade and Vintage Jewellery

How to Care For Your Handmade Jewellery

I hope you will be pleased with your handmade jewellery; this is a guide to caring for your purchase; treat jewellery with love and care and it should reward you with years of pleasure.

Jewellery should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off.

View your handmade, antique or vintage jewellery as an heirloom piece - treat it gently and you may be able to pass it on to future generations.

Sterling silver may tarnish over time - never use a silver dip on handmade jewellery as this will immerse not only your silver but also any stones, pearls, glass or leather; please only use a soft silver or gold cleaning cloth to clean precious metal jewellery; with other metals or leather you can use just a soft lint-free cloth.

Do not use an ultrasonic cleaner to clean your handmade jewellery.

Of all the 'ingredients' in handmade jewellery, pearls and freshwater pearls are the most delicate - clean these with a soft cloth only; pearls tend to flourish and bloom when they are worn frequently - they need the oils from your skin to nourish them and keep them 'living' - if they are not worn, they may lose their lustre - wear them, enjoy them, and they will tend to look after themselves.

Don't soak you jewellery in water - this will damage pearls and gemstones; in the case of porous gemstones like lapis lazuli, turquoise or coral (for instance) the water may penetrate and damage the stone; with pearls it may take off layers of nacre and sheen.

Do not shower, sunbathe, swim or use the jacuzzi whilst wearing your jewellery - chemicals or salt will cause damage - do not subject jewellery to strenuous activities like exercise or gardening as it may snag and break.

Where possible, store your jewellery in the tissue paper inside the box or the pouch it arrived in.

Apply perfume, hairspray, and lotion before wearing jewellery - put it on once your potion, lotion, cream or perfume has dried; this will ensure that you do not damage pearls or gemstones. Apply the rule - jewellery should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off.


The handmade jewellery on SLC Designs is primarily either wired, strung on Beadalon Professional or Acculon, Leather or Silk; I make pieces to be durable and wearable, but please note that in the case of jewellery strung on silk, this takes on oils from your body and also may stretch over time; eventually it may need to be replaced; the reason that silk is knotted in between each bead is so that if it does break, you only lose one pearl or bead; it is a great thread to use for pearls or colour contrast or small gemstones, but it will not last for ever.

Whilst the glass I use in my pieces has been annealed in a kiln, it is still glass - if it is dropped or banged then the glass may break.

How to Care For Your Vintage Jewellery

Vintage jewellery should be treated with special care - I check and clean all the jewellery on the site before it goes out to you, my customer, and where appropriate I re-set crystal or stones, re-string necklaces, replace worn out clasps and fittings (with fittings of the same era) and just generally make sure the piece is fit for purpose. I don't recommend you do this, but I clean with a little PH neutral detergent and a soft toothbrush. I always have 'catchers' underneath my hands when I do this (ie, kitchen towels and sieves) because you just never know. I don't wet anything so thoroughly that it is likely to disintegrate, but I do check for loose stones this way - as you can imagine, its effective.

Over the years, jewellery inevitably picks up bits of dust, crumbs from Aunt Lillian's toast and some other stuff you probably don't want to think about. Don't worry about it, I've done the icky stuff for you and you can be sure that whilst your piece is old, it is also clean - well, as clean as warm water and a toothbrush can get it anyway.

Caring for your vintage jewellery on an ongoing basis is pretty much the same as for handmade jewellery - treat it with respect, and there may be someone else selling it in 80 years....


If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at

All Content, Design, Text and Photographs Copyright Stephanie Lewis-Cooper, SLC Designs™, 1999-Present