How to Restore the Finish on Costume & Fashion Jewelry

Written by ellen dean
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Everyday chemicals such as soap can damage plating on jewellery, causing deterioration or discolouration. Restoring jewellery may be as easy as buffing it with a soft cloth. For more difficult deterioration problems, you may need to use a strong jewellery cleaner or a replating and polishing cream. The best way to avoid the decomposition of fashion or costume jewellery is to store it in a cool, dry jewellery box and take it off prior to using soap and water.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Silver Brite
  • Cotton swab
  • Buffing cloth
  • Jewellery cleaner
  • Soft jeweller's cloth
  • Children's soft bristle toothbrush
  • Replacement stones
  • Super glue
  • Replacement clasp
  • Clear nail polish

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  1. 1

    Wipe the jewellery in need of restoration with a jeweller's cloth to see if this fixes the problem.

  2. 2

    Restore silver jewellery with Silver Brite, which cleans, polishes and replates silver. Rub on Silver Brite cream with a cotton swab, then use the buffing cloth in the kit to clean off the solution and shine the piece of jewellery.

  3. 3

    Buff on jewellery cleaner or submerge heavily tarnished gold-plated jewellery directly in the jewellery cleaner after reading the directions on the solution you choose. Wipe gently with a jeweller's cloth. Jewellery with stones should not be submerged because the stones may loosen.

  4. 4

    Once your jewellery is bright and shiny again, brush clear nail polish onto all exposed metal that is not real gold or silver, inside and out, to prevent tarnishing or turning skin green.

Tips and warnings

  • Replace any loose stones with one or two drops of superglue, making certain that no glue overflows. If the stone is lost, many online stores and companies sell loose stones.
  • If your jewellery's clasp is broken, remove the remaining clasp and replace it with one you have purchased at a local jewellery store or on the internet. Be certain that the entire clasp needs to be replaced and not just the jump ring prior to purchasing the replacement clasp.
  • If using a jewellery cleaner, make sure it specifies that it is safe for costume jewellery and does not contain the following: alcohol, ammonia or acids. Since costume jewellery is manufactured using such a wide variety of methods, there is no way of knowing what type of metal is already on the surface or if it has been coated or not. Alcohol, ammonia and acids can be abrasive and worsen the problem, eating away at the finish.

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