Caring for Rhinestone Costume Jewelry

If you collect vintage Rhinestone Jewelry, then caring for rhinestone costume jewelry  was  created just for you.  The right method of caring and storing rhinestone jewelry is crucial and will keep your Rhinestone jewelry in sparkling condition for many years to come.

Rhinestone Costume Jewelry

Keep in mind, that when you hear the term "paste" on the jewelry landscape, most likely it's referring to rhinestones. And when it comes to rhinestone Costume Jewelry, all that glitters is not gold but Sherman Jewelry!

The following tips and techniques in caring for Rhinestone Jewelry apply to jewelry containing "paste" stones.

If you are familiar with the History of Rhinestones, you are aware that the United States use the term "rhinestone" for these fiery little sparklers, while in Europe, "paste", "strass" and "diamante" are more commonly used.

All the above terms are referring to the same thing - and it's not the Real Thing either but Diamonds that are....

Rhinestones are man-made gemstones of highly refined glass.

Care & Cleaning Tips

  • Just like caring for Pearls, when caring for Rhinestone Costume Jewelry, do not spray perfumes, deodorants or hairsprays anywhere near this type of jewelry. The chemicals in the sprays may damage the stones.
  • Do not store Rhinestone Jewelry on top of one another.  The rhinestones, being made of glass may chip, break or scratch.
  • Do not store Rhinestone Jewelry in plastic bags for long periods. Moisture may get trapped inside and destroy the rhinestones.
  • Vintage costume jewelry is often made from a material called Pot Metal. It is a relatively soft compared to precious metals and care should be taken not to bend or crush it.
  • Rhinestones are usually always foil backed. If you cannot tell if the stone is foil backed or not, better safe than sorry, err on the side of caution.
  • Never immerse Rhinestone Jewelry in any kind of liquid.
  • Never use toothpaste or a hard brush or any type of abrasive or ammonia based cleaner on rhinestone or crystal, in particular rhinestones finished with an opalescent coating that appears to give the stones a sheen and a color change appearance that is called - Aurora Borealis.
  • To clean a piece of Rhinestone Jewelry, use a slightly damp soft lint-free cloth, and a small amount of foam glass cleaner, which is ammonia-free. With careful strokes, gently clean the surface of the stones.

More information about caring for Rhinestone Costume Jewelry can be found in Warman's Vintage Jewelry by Leigh Leshner which can be purchased through by clicking on the photo of the book above on this page.


Leshner, L., Warman's Vintage Jewelry, Krause Publications, 2008, Ioloa, WI.

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