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Treasure Jewelry Care

How to Care for Your Treasure Coin Jewelry

You are now a private curator of one of the world’s shared treasures! Each Cannon Beach Treasure Company jewelry piece has been professionally designed and created to become a family heirloom that can be enjoyed for generations… if properly cared for!

So, before we jump into a guide to caring for your new treasure, let’s set some quick ground rules (Please read ALL OF THEM!):

  1. Caring for your treasure is easy! We’re just giving you all the details here because we’ve gotten many, many questions over the years! So don’t worry, you have everything you need at home to keep your treasure in beautiful condition for many lifetimes!
  2. It’s not the water… it’s the chlorine and chemicals IN the water! Your treasure coin is precious. A centuries’ or even millenias’ old, one of a kind, piece of history. Pay it the respect it deserves by removing it before you take the plunge… into pools, hot tubs, sulfur springs, saltwater ocean, etc. The chlorine and other chemicals and minerals in the water can damage the patina of your treasure, and repeated and prolonged exposure to water will alter and darken (or even green) over time the surface of your coin. Just remember the treasure lovers water rule: OFF BEFORE IN (the water, that is). And keep in mind, this goes for the shower too (see below for more on showers). 
  3. You’re not the only one who’s had a life!  Each of these unique treasures has led a one-of-a-kind life, for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years, and each has been professionally conserved by Robert in our lab taking into account the treasure’s unique journey to your stewardship. Conservation work is best done in a dedicated conservation lab, and left to the experts at Cannon Beach Treasure Company, who have decades of experience working with unique pieces of history.
  4. When in doubt… DON’T. While you may be used to using harsh chemicals, ultrasonic cleaners and polishing paste on your modern jewelry, these cleansers can damage, and may even ruin, your treasure. SEE BELOW FOR MORE DETAILS ABOUT CLEANING YOUR TREASURE.
  5. Patina – it’s a GREAT thing! Each treasure coin and artifact we place into jewelry spends weeks to months in our conservation lab where we professionally stabilize and preserve it for lifetimes of enjoyment. Patina, the natural toning and oxidation that occurs on silver, bronze and coper coins, is not dirt – it is a layer of what becomes protection for the coin formed over hundreds of years and is a valuable part of the coin’s unique history. Conservation efforts stabilize and preserve these precious patinas whenever possible. Please don’t try to “improve” your treasure coin, it has already been perfected in the conservation lab!

Do's & Don'ts of Treasure Coin Jewelry Care


  1. To clean your coin's bezel (the frame around the coin) with a soft jewelry polishing cloth. NOTE: The standard jewelry cloth has a gentle polishing compound impregnated in it. This won't hurt most coins, but others it can rub off and get into the surface texture and darken the coin. If this happens, follow the baking soda/tooth brush directions below.  
  2. To remove skin oils and lotions smudges from your treasure coin, use warm water mixed with non-citrus, plain dish soap and a soft-bristle tooth brush. Blue Dawn Dish soap is our favorite.
  3. Rinse your jewelry with water and use a soft towel to gently and completely dry your piece.
  4. To brighten your coin, you may gently rub it with wet fingers and/or soft bristle tooth brush and a mild whitening tooth paste, and then completely dry your piece with a soft towel. Connoisseurs Jewelry Cleaning dip can be used for silver and gold coins (follow the directions). 
  5. For occasional coin brightening (every few months or so): If your coin has darkened over time and the above is not brightening it sufficiently, make a light slurry of baking soda and water and gently rub your coin with wet fingers and/or soft bristle tooth brush and then completely dry your piece with a soft towel.


  1. We suggest you remove your treasure before you shower. However, if it showers with you, rinse and dry it completely when your shower is over.
  2. Do not swim in your treasure! The chlorine and other chemicals in a pool, spa water, sulfur springs, etc. will damage the patina of your treasure, and repeated and prolonged exposure to water will alter and darken (or even green) over time the surface of your coin.
  3. Do not use ultrasonic cleaners or polishing paste - they can damage, and may even ruin, your treasure. 

Specific Care Guides by Metal:

  • Gold Coins & Artifacts: Gold, glorious gold. Even centuries under ground or water can’t corrode the queen of precious metals. However, gold coins do tone slightly over time. This toning highlights the coin engraver’s art and boosts the detail of gold coins. You may clean your coin bezel (the metal frame around your coin) only with a jewelry polishing cloth. If you should get skin oils on your treasure coin or artifact, soak it in warm, non-citrus dish soap and water for a few minutes (we like Blue Dawn Dish Soap), give it a swirl and rinse it in clean water. Use a soft, cotton towel to gently and completely dry. This is all your treasure will ever need.
  • Silver Coins and Artifacts: So let’s talk about your treasure’s patina. Silver often emerges from the conservation lab looking almost new! Shipwreck and buried silver coins must be preserved through complete removal of salts and other corrosive elements to be restored to their original glory. Silver naturally tones over time to a soft to deepening grey, with brighter highlights on the raised surfaces of the design where they touch clothing or skin. This toning is highly coveted! It adds a touch of age and beauty to the coin’s details that only time can do. Follow the Do's and Don'ts above for cleaning or brightening instructions. SEE SKIN OILS BELOW
  • Bronze & Copper Coins and Artifacts: From dark to green to a golden glow, it is the patina of aged treasure coins that gives them their unique beauty. Some coins and artifacts are recovered from acidic soils, requiring us to completely remove the acids in the conservation lab, leaving a glowing bronze artifact that will patina over time. You should never scrub, buff or use anything abrasive on your bronze and copper coins in an attempt to “polish them up.” (Leave the polishing for the furniture and Aunt Suzie’s sterling flatware!) You may clean your coin bezel (the metal frame around your coin) only with a jewelry polishing cloth. We do not recommend rubbing bronze or copper coins with this type of cloth. To remove skin oils and smudges, use warm water mixed with  non-citrus, plain dish soap and a soft-bristle tooth brush. Rinse it in clean water and use a soft, cotton towel to gently and completely dry.

A Note On Skin Oils, Perspiration and Patinas:

You are now a part of your treasure’s unique life! Your treasure will outlive you and me to become a part of your family for generations. And here’s where you (and your own skin) become part of the story!

The ground or water from which your treasure was recovered has different acidic levels... scientist call it small "p" big "H"... pH, real science-y stuff.

People are no different. Our skin naturally produces oils and perspiration, and the acidity changes depending on our pH levels. 

Some folks' natural skin oils (not the chemical replacements found in lotions) serve as a protective barrier between your treasure and the oxidizing power of the air. Others have more acidic skin oils that can cause silver and copper alloy (bronze) artifacts to darken. 

Both are natural. 

Your treasure loves to be worn! Your own skin oils may give the raised design on your treasure an extra glow. This is a natural process that highlights even more detail in your unique piece.

If your skin oils tend to make your treasure darker, follow the directions above to "brighten" or clean your treasure. If this persists, once it is clean AND DRY, some folks like to apply Jewelry Shield that puts a clear coating on the treasure. We use a variation of that here for copper and bronze artifacts. 

So, have fun, wear your treasure, and remember, if you ever need a consult, we’re just a phone call or eMail away!

The Crew at Cannon Beach Treasure Company