How to Clean Antique Gold Jewellery

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How to Clean Antique Gold Jewellery

Antique gold jewellery is a popular item for jewellery aficionados because its beauty and style has withstood the test of time. Antique gold pieces are also heirloom gifts. They have monetary, style, and nostalgic value for jewellery wearers. However, antique gold jewellery looks its best and maintains its value when it is clean and taken care of. Before attempting to clean any antique piece, it is important to know the item, how to clean it, and how to care of it.


About Antique Gold Jewellery

Antique gold jewellery comes in as many shapes and sizes as new gold jewellery. If a consumer is not knowledgeable about an antique piece, they may unwittingly cause damage when attempting to clean it. Antique gold jewellery is available in yellow or white gold and is solid or plated. Prongs, glue, or both hold the gems inside the gold.

Unfortunately, detailed information about antique jewellery is not always available. If this is the case, take it to a jeweller professional for an inspection. They will provide the information necessary to clean the item and many retailers offer cleanings for a nominal fee.


Professional Cleaning

Antique gold jewellery needs a professional cleaning and inspection if it is unknown or if it is especially dirty. Jewellers clean pieces in one of four ways: steam, ultrasonic, chemical soaking, or polishing cloth. If the item is fragile or if adhesive is holding the gems, they will not use ultrasonic and chemical cleaning methods. The use of vibration and/or certain chemicals can loosen stones or further weaken a delicate item. Jewellers use a polishing cloth to bring back the shine on plated antique jewellery.

Some jewellery retailers hire certified gemmologists to clean and inspect items brought in by customers. A gemmologist receives training in metallurgy, gemstones, and jewellery care. It is always important to ask how the jeweller cleans antique gold jewellery and how they safeguard against damage to the piece.


Cleaning Antique Gold Jewellery at Home

Home cleaning is a popular option for maintaining the beauty of antique gold jewellery. Jewellers recommend a soak in warm water with a light dose of dish soap for most pieces. A soft bristle brush is best to remove dirt or oils from settings and detail. However, it is important to take precautions before cleaning any antique jewellery. One product or piece of equipment cannot clean every variety of metals and gemstones available.

Steam and ultrasonic jewellery cleaners are also readily available for home use. These items are smaller version of cleaners used by professional jewellers. Ultrasonic cleaners employ vibrations to loosen dirt and grime from jewellery. Some models also require a chemical solution to clean items more efficiently. If the antique gold jewellery is fragile, an ultrasonic cleaner is not the best machine. In this case a steam cleaner is a better chemical free option.






Uses only hot, high pressure steam

Safe for most antique gold jewellery

Not for use with soft or porous stones

Difficult to handle


Easy to use

Vibrates grime out of hard to reach areas

Different sizes available

Harsh chemical bath

Harm delicate pieces

Polishing cloth

Minimal wear on metal

No scratching

Removes light tarnish

Does not remove heavy grime

Is time consuming


Using the wrong chemicals or technique will cause discolouration, damage, or cracking of gems and metals. In particular, using ammonia on white gold can cause it to become brittle and soaking Opals in alcohol or ammonia can cause the stones to crack. Always follow manufactures' instructions when using a steam, ultrasonic, or chemical cleaner to care for all antique gold jewellery.


How to Buy Products to Clean Antique Gold Jewellery      

Several products for cleaning antique gold jewellery are available for consumers on eBay. Find chemical cleaners by typing 'liquid jewellery cleaner' into the eBay search bar on any page. Chemical cleaners come in bundles or jewellery cleaning kits that include a case, cleaning brush and polishing cloth. If you prefer a machine method try searching 'jewellery-cleaning machine,' then choose between a steam and ultrasonic cleaner. In addition, you can use the compare item option to make the best purchase to meet your needs.

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