Tutorial – How to remove bad foil from your Vintage Glass Jewels

If you buy vintage glass jewels or rhinestones, you know what I’m talking about – sometimes the foil is wonderful and adds gorgeous sparkle to your jewels. And sometimes it’s really bad, and they’re just not useable “as is”.

It’s easy to remove the foil and this tutorial will tell you the secret 🙂 (Okay, it’s not really secret. But it is handy to know!)

Turn your jewels from this:

Aqua Vintage Glass Pear Rhinestone Jewels - with bad foil

To this:

Aqua 18mm x 13mm Vintage Glass Pear Jewels

And how do you do it? You soak them in vinegar and salt. That’s it 🙂

Take a small dish or bowl (or plastic tub that used to add margarine or something). If your container has a lid that’s an extra plus – that’s just to help contain the vinegar odor, it doesn’t make any difference to the cleaning process.

(And actually I like the smell of vinegar – to me, it says “clean”, because I use vinegar for an effective, non-toxic cleaning supply.)

It doesn’t have to be fancy expensive vinegar – plain old white vinegar is fine. Put a half cup or so in your plastic container. Add some salt – say a teaspoon (I never actually measure). Stir with a spoon or your finger to dissolve the salt, at least mostly. If you use a spoon, rinse it off afterwards. The acid in the vinegar – that helps so much to remove the foil from your jewel – can also eat away at the metal of your spoon, just a little bit. (For the same reason, don’t put the jewels in this solution, when they’re in metal settings. I’ve done it by accident – and the vinegar will eat away at the setting, enough to etch the surface and make it rough and unuseable.)

Leave the jewels in the vinegar solution for a couple hours, or overnight. It depends on the jewel and the maufacturer – sometimes it only needs an hour and the foil comes off like peeling a grape, a simple rub and you’re done. Sometimes it’s more stubborn, and you need to soak them overnight, and then rub or scour them a bit with your fingers. But I’ve (almost) never found jewels where this didn’t work.

And now your jewels are shining, and very clean (oh! rinse the vinegar off when they’re done – again, just because of the smell). And you can make beautiful jewelry 🙂

P.S. Save the container with the vinegar – you can use it again and again.

P.P.S. An interesting side note. If you do this with a lot of jewels (I do, because I buy a lot of jewels, and probably half? of them have bad foil) – after a while, your vinegar will turn deep turquoise in color. Transparent, but still! Whether the foil is “silver” or “gold” in color, the inner layer of foil (there are usually 2 or 3) has copper in it. And in some scientific spectrum or other, copper = turquoise. Very cool 🙂

Sapphire Blue Vintage Glass Heart Jewels – Gorgeous Rhinestones

I love the color of these vintage rhinestone heart jewels:

Sapphire Blue Vintage Glass Heart Jewels

I just added them to my Etsy jewelry supplies shop. I’m always looking for rhinestone hearts – they tend to get grabbed up quickly so I was very happy to find these.

Rich and romantic and they’d make gorgeous earrings and necklace focals. If you’re in the mood for hearts, you might want to go peek!

Vintage Fashion and Shopping – Gorgeous Blog!

I just found a wonderful vintage fashion blog, Glamourdaze, “An Archive of Vintage Fashion and Beauty”.

Glamourdaze Blog

She’s got some wonderful pages there, talking about decades of fashion from the 1900s through the 1950s – here’s one of my favorites: Vintage Fashion – the 1930s.

Check out her Vintage Fashion Store and her Youtube link to Vintage Fashion in Films”.

Go have fun – and may I say, Yum!

Jewelry Making – Variations on a Theme

One of the fun things about making jewelry is the different styles you can design – even with (mostly) the same components. It doesn’t have to be difficult. This is not rocket science – it’s about making pretties to wear or give or sell, and having a good time while you’re at it!

Here’s an example of some earrings I made recently:

Montana Sapphire Vintage Rhinestone Jewel Earrings - Variations on a Theme
Montana Sapphire Vintage Rhinestone Jewel Earrings – Variations on a Theme

The main components are vintage rhinestone (glass) jewels – and yes, they are available here, in my Etsy shop. Of course you can use any jewels (or beads) – these are pretty ones that I had on hand.

The other components? some earwires, and golden chain, and another vintage glass jewel in a similar but not identical shape, and a complementary color. None of these was difficult to execute – and they are pretty and flattering to wear.

Play around with what you’ve got – try different styles – have some fun!

P.S. As always – the designs here are not State Secrets – if they spur a creative idea for you, go for it!

Bling is Always in Style

And it can be clean and simple – or, intricate and ornate. Both look good – it’s the sparkle that counts the most. And you can do it yourself.

I’ll be posting tutorials from time to time for intricate creations, but sometimes simple works as well as fussy. Take a look at these earrings (all styles that I’ve made myself, and certainly not original with me).

Vintage Rhinestone and Glass Jewel Earrings

They look good in the pics – they look terrific when worn. Delicate, and feminine, with just enough presence to be fun.

Earrings ought to be fun. And affordable. And hey, vintage (and recycled!) beads and jewels are the icing on the cake 🙂

Tip of the Day – Don’t Lick Your Fingers

Okay, that sounds silly, but it’s not. I got this tip from a rhinestone vendor, and once he mentioned it, it made total sense.

Rhinestones are beautiful and sparkly and the precise, faceted ones are just gorgeous – take a look at these two-jewel charms, aren’t they pretty?

Sapphire Vintage Pear Jewel and Crystal Rhinestone Two Jewel Charms
Rhinestones (and vintage glass jewels) are beautiful. Just remember to use sensible care and caution when you work with them all the time.

Quality rhinestones – whether Swarovski (yum!), or vintage glass, are usually made of leaded glass or crystal. The relevant word here is “leaded”. Lead is bad for you. You don’t want to ingest it. You definitely don’t want your kids to ingest it (and please note, now and in future, that jewelry supplies are NOT TOYS. They aren’t meant for small children. They can scratch and be swallowed).

But right now, we’re talking about us, the women and men who design and build jewelry. It’s easy, when you’re working with small components, and trying to do six things at once, and you really need three hands anyway, to lick your finger and pick up the pretty sparkly rhinestone, to steady it and secure it and get ready to use it.

Don’t do it. Get in the habit of keeping a moistened paper or cloth towel at your workspace. When you need to moisten your finger so you can pick up that tiny little rhinestone and have it stay on your finger – touch the moist towelette. Don’t lick your finger.

No, nothing terrible will happen from touching a rhinestone! Don’t get me wrong, they are not dangerous. But they come from a factory where there is dust, and the dust probably contained lead. And they contain lead. You don’t want to get any of that inside you.

So – use them with love, and admire their beauty, and share them with your friends – and customers! Just clean them well, and polish them to make them even more beautiful – and stop licking your fingers.