Like most fashion jewelry (a.k.a costume jewelry) lovers you probably have some old seemingly worn out rings, necklaces, or bracelets shoved to the back of your drawer or jewelry box that never get worn. The great thing about inexpensive costume jewelry is that it is easy to get your moneys worth out of it. However, why not get even more bank for your buck by breathing new life into those old jewelry pieces by reversing some of their most common issues:
Problem 1: Dirty or Tarnished?
Cleaning fashion jewelry is simple but choose your cleaner wisely. Only use a jewelry cleaner that specifically states that it is safe for costume jewelry and read the ingredients to make sure that it does not contain alcohol, acids, or ammonia because these can strip the gold or silver plate. Use a children’s soft bristle tooth brush for cleaning around costume jewelry stones. Its probably not be a good idea to immerse rhinestone jewelry because the stones can become unglued.
If your fashion jewelry items are only lightly tarnished a good buffing with a soft dry jewelry cloth may do the trick. For more heavily tarnished items a jewelry polish can work wonders.
Problem 2: Worn out gold or silver plating?
Because typical fashion jewelry plating is very thin it can eventually rub off from wear or become damaged from the use of harsh chemicals, creams, or perfumes. If this happens there are several options in gold and silver re-plating solutions that can be found online. Some are fairly simple and can be performed without the use of heat or electricity while others are a little more complex. I found one website in particular that offers a very good variety of plating options (e.g. immersion plating, pen plating) and general plating instructions for precious metals including gold, silver, platinum, and rhodium. It is shorinternational.com. Click on the contents and search box and then plating gateway. One word of caution: I would recommend buying only cyanide free plating solutions as cyanide is poisonous. For silver lovers there is one product that I have personally used that has worked well for me and it is called Silver Brite. This is an all in one cream that cleans, polishes, and re-plates worn silver on jewelry and other items. It is very easy to use and fairly inexpensive. Just rub the cream on with an applicator sponge or a Q-tip for small items and rub off with the buffing cloth that is included with the kit. The result is a clean, sparking silver finish.
Problem 3: Loose or missing stones?
If a stone such as a cubic zirconia, plastic, or glass has become loose or fallen out a drop or two of super glue will do the trick. Just be careful not to use too much. You don’t want the glue oozing out of the sides and causing the piece to adhere to your skin or some other object. Most of the time a single drop will suffice unless it is a very large stone in which case you may want to use two drops. If you cannot find the missing stone there are companies online that sell loose cz stones if you have a particular chain or ring band you want to salvage. Simply do an internet search for cz stones.
Problem 4: Broken clasp?
If your fashion necklace or bracelet has a broken clasp make sure it is the actual clasp that is broken. The problem may be a broken jump ring which is a tiny metal ring that is open in one spot which connects the clasp to the chain. If this is the problem it can be easily fixed. First identify what kind of clasp it is (e.g. lobster clasp which is shaped like a lobster claw and has a tiny spring loaded lever, a magnetic clasp which is just as it sounds, or a spring ring which is also spring loaded) then visit your local craft store or do a search online for jewelry clasps and you should find what you need. If the clasp is soldered on you will need to contact a jewelry repair professional.
Problem 5: Out of date:
If you simply want to add a new flair to your old fashion jewelry pieces you can simply mix and match. If you have a special pendant that you are especially fond of give it a new life with a more contemporary chain. Add new charms to your favorite bracelet or re-plate that old silver necklace with a shiny new gold finish. Be creative!