Hi to everyone and thank you for your great & help with
my Argentium Silver tarnishing problem.
A customer of mine has asked me if I can “polish” her handmade
brooch, made by another silversmith. The brooch is comprised of
sterling silver & 18kt.
gold, with three chrysocolla druzy, sodalite, & a
carnelian. The sterling silver pierced design is very tarnished and
also a sandblasted, very rough surface, silver. Ultrasonic cleaner?
Thank you all so much.
if you shield the stones you may try dipping the piece (like 1
second) in an aluminium pie plate that has a heaping tablespoon of
plain salt with a tablespoon of granulated water softener(on the
laundry products aisle at the grocer’s) dissolved in warm water. The
reaction and swiftness of cleaning is truly amazing and the best
thing i know of for pieces with lots of texture, engraving, etc. the
stones need to be immediately dried after the dip though and never
use this with pearls, or any other nacre containing or porous
natural embellishment (like some unsealed/unfinished coral beads
etc.). If you have no aluminium pie plate you can line an electric
skillet with heavy duty aluminum foil and turn it on warm (make sure
the foil comes up and over the edges of the pan and completely covers
the bottom in a continuous piece- so use extra-wide foil roll! and
since it will be set up get out any silver you may have and do it at
the same time- it is lightening fast and really amazing- I was tres
skeptical but now never use anything else for cleaning silver ware -
and it’s non-abrasive to boot!..rer
Sodalite should never be put in an ultrasonic cleaner, chrysocolla is
risky, and the carnelian would probably be okay. I would probably try
a chemicaltarnish remover and avoid the stones and rinse it in baking
soda and waterto neutralize the remover. If it was dull looking after
that I would try to polish it by hand. The chances are good if you
get compound in the druzy it will not come out without damaging the
stone. I would try to mask the sodalite and chrysocolla somehow
before polishing the piece.
You need an ionic cleaner. SpeedBrite is the brand I have. It
removes the tarnish - even in deep crevices. After a few seconds in
the unit, the piece is gently scrubbed (I use an old toothbrush) and
rinsed. Repeat as necessary until you are satisfied. Since the
tarnish is removed chemically, surface polish is dimmed. With the
sandblasted finish, this is not a problem, but anything that is
shiny will need a light buffing.
The unit is sold by several dealers who can be located by Google.
Judy in Kansas, where yesterday saw high temps that set records.
Enjoying the relief from winter weather!
the stones need to be immediately dried after the dip though and
*never* use this with pearls, or any other nacre containing or
porous natural embellishment (like some unsealed/unfinished coral
The process is pretty mild. I’m unsure about the water softeners, so
he caution might still apply (salt is harmless). but if you’re
unsure, use ordinary washing soda (sodium carbonate. Not baking soda,
though even that will slowly work), by itself, with the aluminum. The
chemicals are just there as an electrolyte, it’s the electrical
reaction between the silver and aluminum that causes the cleaning.
Washing soda will not harm any stones or pearls. About the only
thing I’d not use it on would be foil backed, glued in, rhinestones.
This simple solution is a little slower than R. E. Rourkes, but does
the same thing.
Thank you R. E. Rourke, Deborah, and judy from tropical kansas. I
will shield the stones & try the alum/baking soda bath, which I have
done before, & will look into the ionic cleaner for the future. You
guys are great!
Wright’s silver polish. Use the sponge provided to clean
tarnish/oxidation from your silver piece. An old soft toothbrush also
is useful if there are nooks and crannies. Rinse all the polish off!
Lukewarm water. Dry. You will be surprised at the difference.