Decorating & Design - Green Living

Green ways to clean your jewelry

Danny Seo

Don't throw away your favourite vintage pieces! Make them look good as new with minimal effort and a few handy tricks.

A visit to almost any flea market, thrift shop or junk store will usually result in boxes or drawers jam-packed with a variety of vintage jewelry. While the more expensive diamond and precious stone pieces get passed down generation-to-generation or sold in pricey antique shops, you can usually find all types of older costume charms, pins, rings, earrings, and bracelets for next to nothing. Vintage also means age, but that's no reason to pass on jewelry simply because of dirt or tarnish. Try these Simply Green ways to revive vintage jewelery.

Silver-plated jewelry
This tip is like magic: You can magnetize the tarnish away. Simply line the bottom of a bowl with a sheet of aluminum foil and fill the bowl with warm water. Add a generous amount of salt -- about 4 tablespoons -- and a squirt of liquid dish soap. Place the tarnished jewelry on top, and voila! You'll see the tarnish begin to disappear -- a natural chemical reaction that actually magnetizes the tarnish right off. No buffing or rubbing needed. Wipe clean and dry with a terry towel. This also works wonders on tarnished flatware and silver-plated home accessories.

If that cubic zirconia gemstone ring is beginning to look more faux than fierce, give it a good cleaning. Fill a bowl with warm water and add liquid dish soap. Let the jewelry soak for a bit and use an old toothbrush (the older and more worn, the better; newer brushes will be a bit too abrasive) to loosen dust and dir away. If you need a bit more help getting them clean, add a tiny bit of ammonia to the water and soak and brush again.

Excerpted from Simply Green Giving: Create Beautiful and Organic Wrappings, Tags, and Gifts from Everyday Materials by Danny Seo. Copyright 2006 by Danny Seo. Excerpted with permission by HarperCollins. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced without permission in writing from the publisher.



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