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Cleaning pearl and silver necklace


#1

Hi

I’m trying to figure out how to clean a delicate piece of jewelry
made of wired silver and freshwater pearls. Can it go in a magnetic
cleaner ? It’s too risky in a tumbler. And speaking of tumbler, which
one should I get for stones AND silver ? Oh by the way, I got a 16 oz
propane tank for my torch. Much safer than the 5 lbs one ! I
appreciate your advice.

Thanks Cecile


#2
I'm trying to figure out how to clean a delicate piece of jewelry
made of wired silver and freshwater pearls. 

I’ll be very interested to see replies to this question. My own
method is safe, but tedious: rub a bit of dry baking soda on the
silver with my fingers and a small non-metal brush. Then I
wipe/brush the baking soda residue away. Then I curse myself for not
using Argentium wire or putting a dark patina on the wire in the
first place with liver of sulphur.


#3

Hello Cecile,

So far as cleaning a delicate piece of jewelry made of wired silver
and freshwater pearls, I use a dry vibratory tumbler with
rouge-charged walnut shell (medium coarse size). The pearl surface is
delicate, so I set a timer for 15 minutes and check on progress.
Usually, things are bright enough, but if not, set the timer and
tumble for another 5 - 10 minutes.

If the silver is quite tarnished, first do the washing soda (or
baking soda will also work, just more slowly) in hot water and
aluminum foil trick. An ionic cleaner will also remove tarnish well.

Then use the dry tumbler to bring back a polish.

Hope this helps - you’re welcome to email offline. Judy in Kansas
where it’s a Seattle kind of day; misty and cool. Plants are loving
it and the forsythia has really come out into bloom. Soon my turtles
will be up, as will the asparagus and morels.


#4

Hi Barbara,

Recently a thread on Orchid featured a Silver cleaning processs, I
saw a u-tube video on cleaning silver with Baking soda… and Boiling
tap water, you place your item in an aluminium pan and cover it
with dry baking soda. then pour boiling hot water on it. (it is a
chemical process)… It may take a few re-applications of soda and
water… If someone else knows why this could hurt the pearls please
Chime in… I don’t know the threashold of heat 220 degree water has
on a pearl . could it fracture or hurt them… ??? I’m not a
gemologist. If it can withstand the hot water this worked well. I
cleaned some badly tarnished fine chains this way it worked like a
charm… that’s my input,

Barbara Kennedy,
Portland Oregon


#5
Recently a thread on Orchid featured a Silver cleaning processs, I
saw a u-tube video on cleaning silver with Baking soda... 

Sodium carbonate, ie “washing soda” works faster and a bit better
than baking soda for this, though baking soda also works. Just
slower.

and Boiling tap water

And it need not be actually boiling. Warmer is faster, so boiling is
OK, but warm or hot will also work. The reaction is faster, like many
chemical reactions, as temperature increases, but it doesn’t depend
on temperature in order to occur.

you place your item in an aluminium pan 

Or use aluminum foil in a glass or plastic container. The aluminum
is the key, and the silver MUST be in contact with it.

and cover it with dry baking soda. then pour boiling hot water on
it. (it is a chemical process).. 

or dissolve the soda (whatever type) in the warm water first. You
don’t need to put the dry chemical on the silver first. The reaction
occurs with the dissolved solution. When or how you dissolve the soda
in the water isn’t important.

It may take a few re-applications of soda and water.. If someone
else knows why this could hurt the pearls please Chime in.... I
don't know the threashold of heat 220 degree water has on a pearl.
could it fracture or hurt them.. ??? I'm not a gemologist. If it
can withstand the hot water this worked well. I cleaned some badly
tarnished fine chains this way it worked like a charm... that's my
input, 

Real pearls (meaning natural or cultured pearls, rather than plastic
or other sumulants, and specifically excluding Mabe or other
"assembled" pearl products that would include glues, plastics, or
other fillers) are just fine in hot or boiling water. However, if
they are glued to something, many glues, like epoxies, don’t like to
get too hot. Boiling water will soften and weaken epoxies, so they
might become unglued, and if not, upon cooling, while the bond might
be again as strong, it might not be. Pearls strung on silk or other
cord won’t be harmed, but the chemicals will soak into the porous
threads, and might damage them over time.

Note that this whole reaction is not actually a cleaning one. It
chemically converts tarnish back to it’s metallic (white) silver
color, but it’s not really removing dirt or restoring a dulled polish
(though boiling water with baking soda will have some detergent
effect too, so perhaps I’m wrong here… But either before or after
chemical cleaning of the tarnish with baking soda, if there’s actual
dirt and gunk to be removed, soaking in a warm or hot solution of a
decent detergent, dish soap for example, or stronger, like Mr. Clean
or Top Job liquid, maybe even with a bit of ammonia added, will be
more effective at removing dirt, oils, soap scum, etc). So dingy
yellowed or worse tarnish is “removed”, but the silver surface is not
restored to a bright polish by this process. For that, you have to
mechanically buff the surface again. A silver polishing cloth, any
decent silver polish, or the like, will do it much more quickly once
the tarnish is gone, than it would have done in the first place. If
you don’t need a bright polish, just a nice metallic sheen, just the
baking soda as a paste with water gently rubbed on the silver will
brighten it up nicely. if your silver originally was only lightly
tarnished, you may not need to do this, since it will not have lost
much of it’s original polish to the tarnishing process. But if it was
more than a little, some brightening up mechanically will make it
look a lot better than the chemical cleaning by itself.

Cheers
Peter