Product Info & Care
All of our products are pre-loved. Most fall into the category of Vintage (20+ years old), some are Antique (100+ years old), and a few are Contemporary (0-20 years old). Like all beloved treasures, you'll want to take special care of vintage and antique items. Basic tips: Store away from heat and humidity, and clean gently with a soft cloth or cotton Q-tip. With any costume jewelry, you'll want to avoid moisture, lotion, oils, and chemical cleaners especially on rhinestones and enamel. Read more below.
Vintage and antique items have had adventures with prior owners, and imagining those other lives is part of the fun with pre-loved pieces. We do our best to point out specific age spots, but you should always expect some visible wear on vintage and antique items. (If there's no wear and tear, it's probably not old.) Please view photos carefully and feel free to ask questions.
Our focus in the jewelry department is 20th Century costume jewelry - made for high design impact using low cost materials. So the bling is real but the gems are fake, and the metal is usually an alloy (mix) of metals rather than gold or silver. For this reason, vintage/antique jewelry is not necessarily hypo-allergenic. If you have an allergic reaction to jewelry purchased in our shop, let us know and we will gladly process a return. If you are sensitive, stick with jewelry marked 925 (Sterling silver).
Please keep in mind that older items may not be appropriate for children due to their delicate condition and underlying materials. The risk of exposure to lead wasn't super regulated until the late 1970s, so treasures from the 80s and later are safest for kiddos. We recommend a home lead test before using older vintage or antique vessels for food or drink, especially metal or painted ceramics.
We’re always happy to send additional photos, advise on purchases, and answer questions. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll do our best to find it for you. While we do have training in jewelry design and history, and a good reference library, please note that we are not gemologists or historical experts.
Product Care by Type
Jewelry & Jeweled Handbags: Older jewelry is often delicate and requires a gentle loving touch. Costume jewelry is sensitive to the elements - store vintage and antique jewelry away from heat and humidity. Do not store in plastic bags. Prevent exposure to moisture, which can erode finishes and glues. Remove jewelry when exercising, washing, and playing in puddles. As with any costume jewelry, new or old, avoid lotions, oils and chemicals especially on rhinestones and enamel. To clean, polish lightly with a soft cloth. Avoid sonic cleaners, as they can cause damage to vintage and antique pieces. Do not use chemical jewelry cleaner or dips on pieces with foil backed rhinestones or enamel/resin accents.
Foil-backed bling (whether crystal, glass or plastic) will lose glimmer and color when moisture gets beneath the foil. If you've kept them dry and your stones seem to have lost shine, it may just be buildup on the surface. For that, you can use a Q tip that's barely dampened with alcohol or glass cleaner. Gently swab the stone's front, then leave it face down on a paper towel to dry. (If stones are not foiled, the back can be cleaned.) Note: avoid touching any enameled areas, as traces of alcohol from your hands will quickly dull that shiny finish!
Always use a gentle touch; do not use sharp objects to scrape away residue. Be aware that the glowing coat of aurora borealis stones can be scratched so these gems need an extra light touch.
Handbags: Store in a dust bag or protected cabinet. As with jewelry, store your handbags in fabric rather than plastic to allow airflow. To clean and condition leather bags, we recommend Chamberlain's Leather Milk. Take care with dyed leather - test a tiny, inconspicuous spot first. For patent leather or vinyl, avoid lotions, oils and cleaners/conditioners unless they are specifically made for patent finishes. For snakeskin, use a soft cloth and specialized exotic skin cleaner and dust/clean in the direction of the scales to prevent peeling. For faux leather, use a damp soft cloth.
Brass or brass-plated items, copper pots: Avoid moisture/humidity. Polish gently with a lint-free soft cloth. Moisture can cause damage especially on plated or worn pieces, so dry polishing is recommended. If the item becomes dirty, clean with a very small amount of mild soap/water mix or ketchup (good for removing verdigris - but avoid crevices). For a gentler and less smelly alternative to ketchup, mix 1 tsp salt and a squeeze of lemon juice in a small dish of lukewarm water, gently apply with dampened cloth or super soft toothbrush. Follow with a dry soft cloth. For a gleaming shiny polish, you might want to use brass polish - just remember that brass polish will remove old patina, which may affect value, depending on the piece. (Note: Metal and glass jewelry boxes need a more delicate touch. See below.) For brass objects with inlaid stone or shell, do not use cleaners or water on the inlay as it may loosen the glue. Use only a soft cloth. If buildup occurs over time, slightly dampen your cloth and dry the surface right away.
Cloisonné: Wipe gently with a soft lint-free cloth. If your cloisonné piece encounters a spill, wipe it off as immediately as possible. You can gently clean cloisonné with a slightly damp soft cloth or cotton Q tip, followed by a dry soft cloth. Because cloisonné designs have small segments, avoid soaking-wet cloths or cleaning solutions. Liquid can get between the sections and cause damage or decay. Remember that the beautiful bits of enamel in cloisonné are glass that can crack or chip. To prevent falls, try to keep your cloisonné pieces away from shelf edges, children, and pets.
Gilded metal and glass jewelry boxes: Dust with a soft cloth or brush. If your piece has become very dirty or encountered a spill, residue can be cleaned off gently with a barely dampened Q tip; pat dry with a soft cloth. You can use a light touch of glass cleaner on glass areas while avoiding contact with metal components (chemicals may damage the fragile metal coatings).
Pots & Planters: We recommend using a liner for plants in vintage/antique pots and planters to prevent water damage and sustain the life of your piece.