Perhaps you could use toothpaste to clean brass or olive oil to brighten up a string of pearls. Maybe employing a few sticks of ordinary chalk might help retard tarnish when storing your silver flatware.
These tips and tricks do work, along with many others contained in Protecting Your Collectible Treasures: Secrets of a Collecting Diva by Judith Katz-Schwartz for Martingale & Company.
About the Author
Even though the show itself didn't sustain, the tips Katz-Schwartz shared with her viewers were extremely popular and still please audiences when she makes talk and morning show appearances. If her cover photo looks familiar, it's probably because you've seen her chatting it up with with television hosts like Montel Williams, Rikki Lake, and Sally Jessy Raphael over the years.
From a personal perspective, I've known Katz-Schwartz for quite some time as a fellow vintage costume jewelry collector. We've bought and sold to one another via the Internet, and had the chance to visit personally at jewelry collecting events over the years. Katz-Schwartz was also my predecessor here as the antiques guide for About.com and she graciously took on the task of serving as the technical editor for my own book, Buying and Selling Antiques & Collectibles on eBay. That means she made sure I had all my ducks in a row when it comes to the antiques advice I shared with my readers.
Katz-Schwartz has always been forthcoming in sharing her knowledge on antiques and collectibles with humor and style, and she doesn't disappoint in the least compiling her helpful hints, tips and tricks for preserving collections into book form.
Collection Care Made Simple
For instance, out of ammonia and low on vinegar? Then try mixing up a batch of glass cleaner using one-quarter cup of cornstarch in one quart of warm water. Rubbing alcohol and even vodka will make glass sparkle in a pinch, too, according to Katz-Schwartz.
No matter which around-the-house type of glass potion you concoct, don't forget to save the newspaper you read this morning to wipe away excess cleaner and give your glass a lint-free shine.
Want more? If you've ever wondered how to clean mirrors so they won't fog, or how to get stubborn water rings out of odd shaped bottles and vases, no problem. You'll even garner a few tips on restoring and freshening your old toys, a collecting specialty for Katz-Schwartz, and that includes all those adorable teddy bears.
Useful Tips with a Good Dose of Humor
"So many of the objects that I collect are filled with rich associations because of my family's humor, love and unique personality," Katz-Swartz admits in her preface. Being the offspring of a consummate collector who was also quite a colorful character, I can certainly relate to her sentiment here.
From her grandmother, "the Empress of Never Throwing Anything Away," to a funny look at Cleopatra, who must have been "short a couple of hieroglyphics" for marrying her 12-year-old brother, each essay begins a chapter with a healthy dose of smile power before leading to some really valuable hints about caring for collections. Not many books dealing with antiques and collectibles contain humorous anecdotes, so it's a nice respite from the usual.