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Vulcanite Cameo Brooch
by: susan

I have an antique vulcanite (I believe) and just want to clean it. I know it was owned by my great grand mother in 1893

Cleaning Vulcanite Jewelry
by: Yvonne

Hi Susan
Vulcanite Jewelry is a genre of "black jewelry" - there are a number of black materials used in antique jewelry and one of the most sought after is Whitby Jet.

Like Gutta-percha which is another black or brownish material, vulcanite or ebonite was very popular during the Victorian era, the former, made from the sap of the "Isonandra Gutta" hence the latter material's name of Gutta-percha.

Vulcanite is also known as "Ebonite" - an artificial substitute for ebony wood hence the name "Ebonite". Ebonite is actually hardened black rubber that's been treated and hardened or "vulcanized" by chemical means, especially, by combining it with sulfur at high temperatures.

Susan do you want to simply clean the vulcanite or conserve it?

I have read in a forum post on the subject of ebonite that apparently it can be successfully polished and conserved although the item in question was ebonite panel from a 1920s radio and not antique jewelry but apparently the material can even be successfully restored from a treacly brown to a shining black which I thought was quite interesting.

Being a hardened form of black rubber, if you simply wanted to clean the piece
(love to know more about your jewelry - like what it is :(
I would steer away from chemicals and use a damp cloth and mild soapy water.

Warm Regards

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