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 Qtip. (More detail cleaning tips 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 please know that 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).
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. Because some antique and vintage items might contain traces of lead, we recommend using a home lead surface test before using any metal or ceramic for food or drink.
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 collection, please note that we are not gemologists or historical experts.
Product Care by Type
Jewelry: Older jewelry is delicate and requires TLC. Store vintage and antique jewelry away from excessive heat and humidity. Prevent exposure to moisture, which can erode finishes and glues. Remove jewelry when exercising, showering, and playing in puddles. To clean, polish lightly with a soft cloth. Avoid sonic cleaners, as they can actually cause damage to vintage and antique pieces!
Costume jewelry is sensitive to the elements. Foil-backed bling (crystal, glass or plastic) loses glimmer and color when water gets beneath the foil. If they 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. Be careful not to get the foil back wet. (If stones are not foiled, the back can be cleaned.) Always use a gentle touch; do not use sharp objects to scrape away residues that may collect on your jewelry. Be aware that the glowing coat of aurora borealis stones can be scratched.
Brass or brass-plated items, copper pots: Polish gently with a lint-free soft cloth. Moisture can damage plated or worn pieces so dry polishing is recommended. But if needed, you can clean with a mild soap/water mix or ketchup (true, it removes tarnish and verdigris). 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.)
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, straight water, 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. Do not use water unless your piece has become very dirty or encountered a spill. In that case, residue can be cleaned off gently with a soft, barely dampened Q tip; follow with a dry soft cloth. You can use glass cleaner -sparingly- on glass areas but avoid contact with metal components. Some recommendations online suggest using ammonia or window cleaner for the metal, but chemicals can damage to fragile metal coatings (especially gilding) and therefore we do not recommend it.
Pots & Planters: We recommend using a liner for plants in vintage/antique pots and planters. While not always necessary, it prevents possible water damage and sustains the life of your piece.