Celluloid jewelry is fairly rare, but mostly it is fragile and sensitive because it is not, as many believe, made from plastic or other synthetic-based material. It is in fact made from natural plant fibers and it was developed in the 1850s, in England. It became a popular jewelry material some fifty years later and lost its popularity in the 1940s, because other sturdier and cheaper materials were needed during the war. Those who own and want to learn how to clean celluloid jewelry, know how brittle it is, and how susceptible to moisture.
This type of jewelry is also very difficult to repair, so one must take extra care in preserving and storing it, especially since it becomes more valuable as time goes by. Vintage celluloid jewelry should be protected carefully, by being stored in dark and dry places, away from heat or sunlight which damage it easily. And if you didn’t know this, celluloid is very flammable, so keep it away from flames and sources of heat. If you want to know how to clean celluloid jewelry, there is an easy method, but you must accomplish it with care and patience.
You will need two soft cloths, water and some cotton swabs. If you want to learn how to clean celluloid jewelry well, you need to moisten a mild cloth, and then twist it as much as you can, so there is no excess water on it. Shake it and hang it stretched out for a few minutes until it is more damp than wet; now you can use it to clean the jewelry by gently rubbing and patting the surfaces. If you see stains or spots, you can try adding a very small amount of gentle liquid soap which you remove with the damp cloth.
Any carving or nooks in the design that are hard to reach can be cleaned with moist cotton swabs to which you can also apply soap if needed. Make sure to run a dry cotton swab and clean those areas well if you want to know how to clean celluloid jewelry without problems. After you’re done with this process, run a dry cloth over the jewelry as well, and make sure no area is left damp or moist. You should also leave the jewelry on a flat surface to dry before putting it away or wearing it.