How To Clean Vintage Enamel Cufflinks

Knowing how to clean vintage enamel cufflinks will enable you to collect older vintage jewelry and partly restore it. Enamel is made from powdered, ground glass or silica that is mixed with various pigments for color. The powdered oxides are sprinkled on to metal base and softened with heat from a special kiln to create the enamel colors and surfaces present on vintage enamel cufflinks. Over time, enamel may become scratched and chipped, accumulating dirt and grime from body oils. Clean vintage enamel cufflinks with care to preserve them and make them wearable with today's fashions.

  1. Dampen a soft cloth in warm water and mild soap. Carefully rub the surface and underside of the enamel cufflink to remove surface soil. Clean the soapy residue with a damp rag dipped in clear water.
  2. Use an old, soft toothbrush to gently buff over the enamel surface, removing soil from within chipped areas or cracks. The enamel may be loose in the setting, so use extreme care.
  3. Apply a very small amount of metal cleaner to the underside of the vintage cufflinks and carefully buff with a toothbrush to brighten the metal. Rinse in warm, soapy water and dry.
  4. Carefully buff the metal underside of vintage enamel cufflinks to bring up the shine. Do not apply metal polish to the enamel on top of the cufflinks.

Tips and Warnings:

  • If vintage enamel cufflinks have chipped, crazed or cracked enamel, it cannot be restored without removing the enamel and starting over. This is a very expensive and time-consuming project. The vintage or antique value of the cufflinks will be lost by removing the original enamel.
  • Avoid using any other kind of cleaning agent on the enamel other than warm, soapy water. Metal polish may remove any existing shine that remains on the enamel, so confine the polish only to the metal portions of the vintage cufflinks.
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