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Coating for Sterling Silver

I am making some small ornamental items out of sterling that will be
hung on the wall. I would like to coat these items with something to
prevent tarnish. As they will be hung on the wall, there should be
no abrasion to wear off the coating. The items will have a textured
finish. Can anyone recommend a coating that they have actually used on
sterling silver. Could you be specific i.e. brand name, spray or dip
or brush on etc.

Milt Fischbein
Calgary Alberta

I used clear Krylon on a few things and also tried Verithane (sp?).
Both work. Both were sprays. It’s easy to spray too thickly and have
the spray “run” or “puddle”. So you need to spray at a fair distance
and fairly quickly. It does reduce the shine somewhat. I have found
that brushed finishes tarnish very slowly so that may be an option for
you as well.


Milt. I use the lacquer from G.J. Nikolas & Co., Inc. to coat my copper alloy and silver jewelry
items. It is designed for the metal finishing industry. They have
many types of spray,dip and aerosol can products. I use their # 2105
clear lacquer in an aerosol can.

James Binnion Metal Arts

Member of the Better Business Bureau

Can anyone recommend a coating that they have actually used on
sterling silver. 

I have had success with a couple of products. For a medium gloss,
try Future Acrylic floor wax which you can purchase at a supermarket.
It dries fast and clear and is quite durable. I recommend two thin
coats applied with a brush.

For a matte finish, try the matte lacquer sold for use with Fimo
polymer clay. I purchased a small bottle years ago when I was working
with Fimo and I would think it’s still available. Check any of the
suppliers who sell Fimo products. There was also a high gloss lacquer
that worked well on metal. Again, use at least two thin coats applied
with a small brush.

Also, though I haven’t tried it personally, Renaissance Wax has been
recommended in workshops I’ve taken.


At one time in the past, there was a product which was clear,
prevented tarnish, applied just by wiping it on, and removed with
soap and water. It apparently appeared under several names, but the
one I have is “TarnishNot” and was distributed by the Town & Country
Garden Club, Loblolly Hill, Valdosta, GA, which apparently no longer
exists. Does anyone know what this stuff was??? I woud LOVE to
find a source, as it really worked in the limited trial I gave it. I
painted some on a sheet of sterling, then placed the sterling in a
closed container with several lumps of liver of sulfur, and a small
cloth just dripping with a liver of sulfur solution. At the end of a
week, the part I painted was still UNTARNISHED! I speak TRUE! Does
anyone have any knowledge of this?? A similar product, or perhaps
the same, was once sold to wholesale jewelry supply houses, but I
don’t have any knowledge of the source, except that a friend thinks
the “inventor” or “developer” was perhaps from New York.

I really would like to find more about this product, so if anyone
knows anything more, I would like to hear of it. Thanks …

Try a co. called agate lacquer CO. 11-13 forty-third rd. long island
city n.y.11101 (718)7840660 ask for agateen lacquer #2b and agateen
thinner#1 great stuff sprayed it air dries in a few minutes. can’t tell
its on when sprayed or dipped hope this helps
Raymond From Trio Silversmiths in Phila.

I must agree about the Acrylic Floor Coating, however, for those who
want a cheaper solution, look in your Dollar Stores or “Family Dollar
Store”. I found a bottle of some generic Acrylic Floor Coating for
like $1.50, where as the “Future” brand is like $5.50.

Also, I found that I did not like using a brush to apply the coating.
Instead, I like to tie a piece of thin fishing line to the piece and
dip it into a glass of the coating. Then I take the piece out and
spin it around in circles. The centrifugal forces throw any excess
coating off. I hang the piece to dry for an hour or so.


hello: I missed the beginnning of this thread. why would you put
floor wax on sterling? does it present it from tarnishing while the
piece is on display?

thanks in advance


I have been reading about all the things that you can coat silver
with, the problem I see is, what are you going to do when it starts
to wear off. Isn’t this going to create more of a problem the one you
want to solve. How are you going to polish it with half the wax or
varnish still on. I would think this is not a solution to the tarnish
problem. Please enlighten me if I am wrong. I would think your
customers are going to be upset bring back an item that now is
tarnishing in spots and looks worse then if it had tarnished evenly
all over the piece.

Roxan O’Brien

Dede asks why one would put floor wax on sterling and, yes, one
answer is to prevent it from tarnishing while on display � like the
"small ornamental items out of sterling that will be hung on the wall"
that started this thread. But there are other reasons for using a
protective coating, such as when a piece has been patinated with Liver
of Sulphur and you don’t want to lose the resulting color(s) due to
natural oxidation.

As for Roxan’s concern about a protective coating wearing off, yes it
can create a problem but not if handled properly. First, don’t use a
coating on a piece that is subject to heavy wear, like a ring; there’s
no point. Secondly, don’t use a coating on a piece of jewelry just for
the purpose of preventing tarnish; it makes more sense just to
repolish when necessary. But, if the surface of the piece requires
protection (as in the patination example above), then be sure to
disclose the treatment to the customer, just as you would in the case
of a treated gem stone.


    I have been reading about all the things that you can coat
silver with, the problem I see is, what are you going to do when it
starts to wear off. 

G’day; You’re right of course; it (whatever coating it was given)
will partly wear in places and look awful. I suggest that if you get
an item like this you coat it with paint stripper, then wash off with
kerosene or acetone. (it will sting like mad if you get any in your
eyes). Give it a good scrub with a stiff brush, polish it nicely, and
charge appropriately (only the one I got I did for nothing and got
heaps of unsolicited favours!) –

John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ