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Welcome to my World

How to Clean Jewelry That Has Been Through a House Fire or Disaster

This is a emotionally difficult post to write, but if you've had this experience or know someone who has had their jewelry damaged but not melted because it was in a fire, I'm going to tell you how to save it and   make it look new.
I can't give you a photo demonstration because our home burned 20 years ago, but the photo above is a few of my pieces I saved.
Just a couple of days before our fire, we had gone out of town. All my gold pieces I had packed in a plastic jewelry box for traveling. Other than loosing them, nothing could have been worse. My Son found this big chunk of melted plastic and jewelry.
 Off and on for a year I  would get  the mess out and pry my jewelry of the chunk of plastic.  It was still coated with black thick film of plastic and gunk. I placed it in a safe place and a couple of years after the fire I saw a commercial, I don't even remember what it was for, but they were offering a free booklet how to clean old gold with oven cleaner.
 A light bulb went off in my head.....oven cleaner cleans really   burnt on crud off the oven. I had nothing to loose by giving the oven cleaner a try.

Figuring out how to, was risky and  frightening, but it paid off.
1) I lined a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
2) placed the jewels on the cookie sheet and baked it until it was hot to the touch (350 degrees)
3) Took them out of the oven when they got hot to the touch. Immediately sprayed them with the oven cleaner.
What was happening was a miracle ! I rinsed them good with water and repeated the process( changing the aluminum foil each time) until all the melted plastic and gunk was gone !

My jewelry looked as if nothing had ever happened and new again. 

The cabochon Garnet ring didn't escape with out damage. The heat from the fire had cracked the Garnet, but I found the antique jeweler I had purchased the ring from and she was able to find another large Garnet and replace mine.

A few weeks ago my neighbor and her sister inherited some beautiful antique copper cookware. Really old....they were family treasures and had been used buy their Grandmother with many years of use. I gave her my tip ...to place the kettles out in the sun, let them get warm, then spray with the oven cleaner. It worked ! Their kettle had been used over open fires to make apple butter, so if you have a copper treasure that needs cleaned, this method works on copper too.

*NOTE.....I have not tried cleaning Silver with this 


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julia smith said...

Well I love the way that jeweler shows their unique craftsmanship and artistry with such a nice finishing. Even I have a name bracelet in my wardrobe

jewelry cleaning tips

Janet Whitten said...

My dear friend left her diamond rings on the stove in a pot on high for hours until they were charred black. I will tell her about this article. This is awesome. Thank you.

Glenda's World said...

Oh, no !
Let me know. Janet,, if it works for her.
Thanks for commenting