If you have old, worn out, seen better days costume jewelry just lying around gathering dust don't throw it out. You can revitalize those dirty, outdated and broken pieces by following a few simple steps:
Worn out gold or silver plating:
Because typical costume 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 www.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 easy to use cream polishes, cleans and re-plates in one step. 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 shiny, clean silver finish.
Tarnished or dirty:
Cleaning costume 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. I do not recommend submerging rhinestone jewelry as the stones may become loose and fall out.
A light tarnish can be easily buffed away with a soft jewelers cloth. A good jewelry polish works great in restoring heavily tarnished items.
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 certainly don't want the glue to leak out and cause the piece to stick to your skin or another 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 special chain or ring band you want to salvage. Simply do an internet search for cz stones.
If your 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. There are several types (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) 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.
If you want to provide a more contemporary appeal to your older costume jewelry pieces its easy to mix and match. If you have a pendant with sentimental value bring it to life with a more modern chain. Add new charms to your favorite bracelet or re-plate that old silver necklace with a shiny new gold finish. Be creative!
If you are a lover of gorgeous unusual costume jewelry check out the selection WFE Costume Jewelry