Free Shipping + 60-day Returns

How to Clean Coin Jewelry

Jewelry lovers know that a periodic cleaning of their gems keeps them looking fabulous. But coin jewelry is special - unlike anything else that you have in your jewelry chest. The best cleaning advice for your coin is: don't.

A purchase from Greta Parker is just that - an exquisite ancient treasure to wear with pride and pass down through the generations. It isn't a circulation coin that must be scrubbed to remove germs from its millions of handlers. Keep this distinction in mind when you're tempted to "improve" the look of your Greta Parker coin. Trust us, it's perfect as is.

One of the best (and only) reasons to clean a coin from the Greek or Roman era is not to shine it up, but to remove encrustations and dirt that obscure the details. Traditional cleaning methods or vigorous scrubbing can remove an ancient coin's patina - not only making it look less authentic, but potentially reducing its value.

Patina, found on most of our ancient bronze coins, is a surface layer of corrosion (often green) that forms on bronze and copper metal as a result of oxidation. While it may sound bad, it isn't. The patina has helped protect the coin from the elements and other destructive factors for thousands of years. It has formed over many centuries and is a part of the coin's history. In general, patina is desirable on an ancient coin, and the more even and smooth it is, the more valuable it will make the coin.

Silver coins do not really have the same patina, so if your purchase from Greta Parker looks brand new, don't worry! Some of our silver coins have been professionally cleaned and look very shiny. This does not mean they are worth less. Indeed, your ancient silver coins will patina - as much as silver does - after a few months of wear. And if your ancient silver coin arrives with a light to dark gray finish, don't try to remove it. This is called "toning," and it's not only acceptable, but favorable. It makes a lovely counterpoint to the generic, shiny silver coins in circulation today.

If you do decide to clean your coins, it is important to protect the precious patina on your ancient bronze coins so as not to reduce their attractiveness or value. Also keep in mind that AncientAssets coins are placed in gold settings, and you don't want to damage the setting either. Amateurs, including most coin owners, should not use invasive tools or chemical treatments to clean valuable ancient coins. If you believe that your coin needs anything other than a periodic spot cleaning, seek out a professional who can assist you without doing irreparable damage.

Ancient coins that have been exposed to actual dirt or food products (a smudge of sauce left behind by an enthusiastic admirer at a cocktail party, perhaps) only require the simplest of tools: soapy water, distilled water, and a soft toothbrush. There are several non-invasive cleaning techniques at your disposal. For tiny smudges, simply wet a cotton swab with distilled water and gently rub off the residue. Alternatively, you can pour a small stream of distilled water over your coin. A quick smoothing with a soft toothbrush, and you're done. You may also soak the coin in soapy water for a few minutes, swirl it around, and then run it under clear water.

A final, important piece of advice: when you are finished cleaning your coin, make sure you dry it thoroughly. Dampness may damage your treasure.