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Cleaning argentium sterling chain mail


#1

Hello!

I recently purchased a spray bottle of liquid jewellery cleaner that
works extremely well on sterling silver chain mail. There is no list
of ingredients. It says that it is good for a specified list of
stones, but not for pearls, opals or electroplated jewellery.

I have been searching for quite a while for a product for customers
who aren’t in the market for a tumbler, yet want shiny silver
chains. Polish cloths and cream cleaners don’t do the job.

The first bottle I purchased had the typical warnings about using
gloves, ventilation, eyes, skin etc., plus a warning that it
contains a chemical known to the state of CA to cause cancer.

Then I purchased several bottles to sell, and these bottles now have
a warning not to use it on Argentium sterling. I called the company,
and they say they added that warning because of customer feedback –
that the cleaner would somehow affect the surface anti-tarnish
properties of Argentium sterling.

I would dearly love to have some authoritative feedback about this!!
I will pass on what I learn to the company selling the product

Marilyn Gardiner


#2

Argentium can be cleaned with soap and water and a soft toothbrush.
The yellow or black surface coloration that some complain of washes
off. It also comes off in a tumbler, which is basically the same as
"washing off."

Vera Meyer


#3
I recently purchased a spray bottle of liquid jewellery cleaner
that works extremely well on sterling silver chain mail. There is
no list of ingredients. It says that it is good for a specified list
of stones, but not for pearls, opals or electroplated jewellery. 

I’d ask for the material safety data report for the product.

M’lou


#4

Hi Marilyn,

Please ask the company what the ingredient is that is causing the
concern. I think they HAVE to tell you the ingredients, legally,
anyways. And, don’t you want to know what you are selling, and
suggesting that people use, in any case? I would! When we know what
chemicals we are talking about, then we can figure out whether there
is a problem with Argentium Silver.

Cynthia Eid
http://www.cynthiaeid.com


#5

Hello!

This is a follow-up to my request in mid-August for assistance in
evaluating the warning against using a spray bottle of liquid
jewellery cleaner on chain mail jewellery made with Argentium
sterling wire. (Apparently the warning was added because of customer
feedback saying that the cleaner would somehow affect the surface
anti-tarnish properties of Argentium sterling.)

https://orchid.ganoksin.com/t/cleaning-argentium-sterling-chain-mail

At that time the response was that I needed to get the material data
safety report. After several requests, I now have it in hand.

I will email the complete pdf to anyone who requests it, but it says
that the ingredients are: 89-91% Water; 8.8-9.2% Thiourea; and.9-1.1%
Propylene Glycol.

I have a major show this coming weekend, so speedy help would be
much appreciated!

Thanks,
Marilyn

Marilyn Gardiner


#6

Hi,

Thiourea is an acid. Any acid, repeatedly used on any silver will
damage the silver, gradually eating it away.

I would recommend that you tell people who buy your work that if it
tarnishes, use the aluminum foil/hot water/baking soda method to
safely remove tarnish. The silver can be brightened, and further
tarnish prevented by polishing with Goddard’s Long Shine silver
cloth, or liquid.

Also, I would recommend that you prevent tarnish on your Argentium
Silver by heating the chain in a clean oven, in an open pyrex dish,
for an hour at 250 degrees. Then, put it in pickle for a minute, to
remove any tarnish, and any copper that is on the surface. Then, dip
in Goddard’s Long Shine liquid polish, which has thiols in it. The
thiols bond with the AS to prevent tarnish. Rinse and dry.

Best wishes,
Cynthia
Www.cynthiaeid.com


#7
Thiourea is an acid. Any acid, repeatedly used on any silver will
damage the silver, gradually eating it away. I would recommend that
you tell people who buy your work that if it tarnishes, use the
aluminum foil/hot water/baking soda method to safely remove
tarnish. 

Hmmm…something about the distinction being made here strikes me as
a bit fishy.

To form tarnish, the metal surface has reacted with atmospheric
gases to form metal sufides/oxides.

Isn’t it the case that regardless of how one removes this tarnish,
the metal that was reacted to become tarnish is gone from the
surface? If it is otherwise, then one has to believe that the
tarnish “removal” process is actually reducing the metal
sulfides/oxides back to metal AND that the resulting metal is well
integrated into the surface (rather than perhaps becoming an easily
disrupted layer on the surface).

I’ll buy that the thiourea is reducing the sulfides…and giving you
just the slightest whiff of hydrogen sulfide to let you know it is
working. It’s the fate of the newly reduced metal that I can’t swear
to.

Unless of course I’m thinking about this in some fundamentally wrong
way…wouldn’t be the first time…

Me, I love that Tarnex. I’m under no illusions, though, about its
impact on the pieces being cleaned. If you want your silver to last
forever, the only solution is to keep in from tarnishing in the
first place. I find those little pieces of black paper (3M brand, I
think I got mine from Rio) treated with sulfur scavenging stuff work
great. I keep a few in the air tight containers in which I store my
silver chain samples and I haven’t seen any tarnish to speak of
since I started doing so. Maybe not so convenient for the jewelry
box, but they work!

Tom Colson

…looking over my shoulder, hoping a real metallurgist is lurking
about who can clue me in…anyone seen Jim Binnion lately?


#8
Isn't it the case that regardless of how one removes this tarnish,
the metal that was reacted to become tarnish is gone from the
surface? If it is otherwise, then one has to believe that the
tarnish "removal" process is actually reducing the metal
sulfides/oxides back to metal AND that the resulting metal is well
integrated into the surface (rather than perhaps becoming an
easily disrupted layer on the surface). 

You absolutely correct Tom! The crucial phrase you used was "AND
that the resulting metal is well

integrated into the surface (rather than perhaps becoming an
easily disrupted layer on the surface). " 

The silver sulfide IS indeed turned back to elemental silver, but
anyone who’s ever carried out this process will notice that the
surface ends up very frosted, rather than having its previously
polished look. I’m not sure of the exact mechanism, but the sulphur
atoms have gone and left spaces in their place. I’m not sure how
deep the sulphur penetrated into the surface when it reacted with the
silver in the first place, but the resulting surface is far from
acceptable (from what I’ve found anyway). Even if the silver is
stable, it needs to be buffed and so you will be removing some
silver atoms from the surface.

Helen
UK