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Anodized aluminum with silver


I have recently, happily, obtained the tools & materials for doing
dyed anodized aluminum from someone who no longer wants to do it.
I’m very excited about having this new way to add color to my work,
but I didn’t realize how sensitive the aluminum would be to jewelry
cleaners, that basically it’s “dirt” on the metal and that regular
jewelry cleaner will at least damage it, if not just clean it off.
So, if I put some of these parts next to silver, how do I maintain
clean silver? Is there some way to coat the aluminum so that it’s at
least not AS senstive when I’m cleaning the silver next to it? Or do
I coat the silver so it doesn’t get tarnished at least as quickly?
Or do I make sure that they are far enough apart that if the silver
is really needing a cleaning I can still clean it with a q-tip dipped
in cleaner? Or is there some other way (other than just not putting
the two metals in one piece together)? After doing some surfing, I’ve
seen mostly anodized pieces where that was the only metal in it, or
maybe an earring on a surgical steel wire or something, and then
some that were mixed with gf, and although that doesn’t need cleaning
as often as sterling, it still could be a problem over time. I have,
however, also seen pieces with the anodized stuff right next to
bright and shiny sterling, and I’m just not sure how the care of
such things is handled. I’d like to be able to mix them, even having
them right next to each other if possible, but not at the expense of
the piece’s care by the owner!


Designs by Lisa Gallagher

Must you use sterling? What about .9999 fine? And what are you using
to clean with? Perhaps you can find a cleaner that works on silver
but leaves your aluminium alone? Cyanide is a possibility.

It sounds like the anodized parts are not sealed and/or not anodized
properly. A properly anodized/sealed part is pretty durable and can
withstand some abuse, but keep in mind the dye only penetrates a
couple of thousands of an inch, so sealing the anodized part is a
pretty important step. Also, any sort of mechanical polishing/buffing
will quickly wear down the anodized layer.

I highly recomend buying Ron Newmans book on anodizing. He is one of
the DIY gods for this stuff and for $20 its worth its weight in gold.

Good luck,

Must you use sterling? What about .9999 fine? 

You know, I suppose that would reduce the need to clean the silver, I
hadn’t thought of that. It doesn’t need to be sterling, I just want
to use silver. Fine silver would still need cleaning eventually, of
course, just not nearly as often as the sterling. Regarding what
I’ve used to clean it, I haven’t actually had the problem myself, but
the woman who taught me how to do this said that when she used a
cleaning dip it just took the finish off. I should try the one I have
with some “scrap” pieces to see what happens for myself. Regarding
cyanide, I wouldn’t think the average person has that on hand, so
even if that worked (I’ve never used it) I couldn’t tell people
that’s what they’d need to use to care for these pieces.

Designs by Lisa Gallagher

I have had success cleaning combination anodized aluminum and
sterling using Haggerty’s Silver Foam. It is a mild cleaner so it
won’t clean away any substantial tarnish, but it doesn’t do a bad job
and didn’t seem to effect the AA.