How to Repair Vintage Jewelry

Repairing vintage jewelry doesn’t always mean you have to take it to the jewelry shop. Here are some suggestions on how to clean various types of stones.

Repairing Pearls and Opals

Required Tools and Materials

Clean cloth
Mild detergent


Pearls come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Generally, however the solution is to mix warm water with a small amount of mild detergent. Get a piece of clean cloth and damp it with the solution. Clean the pearls with the cloth. Do not immerse the pearls in harsh detergents; it will destroy the pearls.

The best way to repair and clean opals is to wear them all the time. When repairing vintage jewelry like opal, wearing will help as the skin oils grease it.

If you aren’t going to use the opal, put a bit of olive oil in it. You can use the same solution you used for the pearls to clean the opal. Aside from cloth, toothbrush can be used.

Repairing Diamonds and Gold

Required Tools and Materials

Cleaning solution (1 part ammonia, 6 parts warm water)
Small bowl
Mild detergents
Toothbrush (optional)


Mix the ammonia and the water in the bowl. Place the diamond ring in the solution. Leave it there for half an hour. If repairing vintage jewelry like diamonds you can use the toothbrush to gently scrape away the dirt. Do not use ammonia often; it may damage the diamond.

The same solution can be used with gold. Again do not use the mixture often. If the gold and / or diamond needs to be cleaned daily, prepare a mixture of mild detergent with warm water. Soak the pieces there. Or you can dip a cloth in the solution and rub it on the jewelry.

Repairing Turquoise and Silver

Required Tools and Materials

Silver polish
Soft brush


If you’re repairing vintage jewelry like turquoise, dip it only in water. You may use a soft brush to clean the dirt, but don’t add any cleaning solutions. For silver, you should prepare a mixture of soap and water.

You can mix some silver polish with water. Dip the silver in the solution or dab a piece of cloth with the mixture.

Note: silver polish does not cause damage to gold, but it won’t remove the dirt either.

Others Ways of Cleaning and Repairing Precious Stones

To clean other stones you can try the following method. If the stones have foils in the back, use a wet cloth to clean the top parts. If needed, dip it in the ammonia/ water solution described earlier.

Try dipping only a small portion to test if the precious stone can handle it. If it comes out all right, you can dip it in the cleaning solution.


Some precious stones are sensitive to ammonia. Do some research on precious stones just to be sure.

Repairing vintage jewelry can be a delicate task, but if you use the proper methods, those rusty pieces will look brand new.

Rate this guide

Related Posts