How do you safely clean bone beads and antique ivory jewelry?
Your best choice may be to use a mild soap on a soft damp cloth, and simply wipe the jewelry down. If the dirt is deeper than what appears on the surface, a liquid jewelry cleaner is recommended. Gentle dipping may be all you need. Please follow package directions for any jewelry cleaners.
Ivory and bone are natural substances that are made up of minerals. Both materials can be dense but bone may be less dense and more porous. Ivory and bone both lend themselves to surface carving. Care should be taken not to mar the surface of these materials, especially if they have been carved or etched (as in Scrimshaw jewelry).
If the "dirt" persists, then it could be aging or darkening of the bone or ivory, and that might add to the nature and beauty of the beads.
- Sandra Lupo, Jewelry Designer and Instructor and Swarovski crystal Ambassador