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Easiest way to clean sterling earrings


#1

Since there is such an interesting discussion on tips of the trade-
I need a tip. What is the easiest way to clean sterling earrings that
are (were) on sterling wire? I stupidly put my lowest price earrings
on cards, and hung them on an earring tree to take to the art shows.
They are really tarnished. Most are crystal, pearl and gemstone. I
already took them off their wires, and I plan to tumble the wires.
The problem is the dingles. HELP??

Thanks for the brasso tip- I bought some today and hope it takes the
mysterious cloud off the back of a lovely dendritic agate pendant.
Darned cloud just seemed to show up out of nowhere…

Jean


#2

I have had real good luck using a “Sparkle Brite” ionic cleaner. It
does not heat nor uses ultra-sonic action. The solution has not
etched anything I have used it for.

Ken Moore
www.kenworx.com


#3

Jean- The easiest way to remove tarnish from your earrings is to dunk
them in a solution of cyanide and warm water. No need to remove the
crystals.

Jo
www.timothywgreen.com


#4

Easiest way…

Get either a glass pie plate with aluminum foil in the bottom or an
aluminum pie plate. Fill it partway with VERY hot (near-boiling, but
not boiling) water and baking soda (or washing soda… both work
equally well). Place the pieces in the bottom of the pan so they’re
touching the aluminum and are covered by the water. Sprinkle in more
soda until the fizzing all stops. Should smell a bit sulfury as the
tarnish all bubbles away.

This also works well for things like “liquid silver” necklaces.

Enjoy!
Karen Goeller
No Limitations Designs
Hand-made, one-of-a-kind jewelry


#5

You can dip them in “Tarnex”, a silver cleaner available in
supermarkets and such. Just takes a couple of seconds and works great

Jerry in Kodiak


#6
Get either a glass pie plate with aluminum foil in the bottom or
an aluminum pie plate. Fill it partway with VERY hot (near-boiling,
but not boiling) water and baking soda (or washing soda... both
work equally well). Place the pieces in the bottom of the pan so
they're touching the aluminum and are covered by the water.
Sprinkle in more soda until the fizzing all stops. Should smell a
bit sulfury as the tarnish all bubbles away. 

We use room temperature water every day and it works just f ine. I
would not use very hot water…no point, might cause damage, no t
likely, but better to be careful. A tablespoon of Calgon and a
tablespoon of salt in two cups of water will last three or four days
in our store and we sell dozens of silver pieces every day.

Richard Hart


#7
The easiest way to remove tarnish from your earrings is to dunk
them in a solution of cyanide and warm water. No need to remove
the crystals. 

Worst idea I ever read on this forum. So toxic and so unnecessary.

Richard Hart


#8
aluminum pie plate. Fill it partway with VERY hot (near-boiling,
but not boiling) water and baking soda 

The great thing about this method/recipe is that it doesn’t remove
any silver. The silver sulphide tarnish is chemically converted back
to elemental silver and the sulphide ions combine with hydrogen ions
in solution to produce hydrogen sulphide, which is what you can
smell.

However, although it is a great method for eliminating tarnish, it
does leave the surface of the silver rather dull and matt and so it
does need to be buffed to restore the shine.

It’s a great method though and I love doing it - it’s very
satisfying indeed. My friend recently brought round a number of old
sterling silver pieces that she’d had given to her years ago (as long
ago as the seventies) and they were so badly tarnished that they were
a horrible dark brown colour. She didn’t have much hope of
improvement but wanted me to try as the pieces had sentimental value.
I did the tried and trusted kitchen chemistry that Karen describes
and it took a couple of goes due to the heavy nature of the tarnish,
but it all came out beautifully white and clean. Being old and very
scratched, I needed to polish them too, to remove the worst of the
scratches that time had incurred but was careful not to remove too
much metal as all the pieces had patterns either engraved or etched
into them. They came out like new and she was absolutely thrilled
with the results, considering wearing them again after years of not
being able to. She then told me that she had taken them to a
jeweller’s shop recently and paid them to clean her tarnished silver
and that they had returned it to her in the same dark brown state
that I then received them in!!! I couldn’t believe that a qualified
jeweller had charged to remove tarnish when they had clearly done
nothing whatsoever that had any effect on the tarnish, saying “sorry,
that’s the best we could do - you won’t get it any better than that”!
That’s why she didn’t have much hope of me being able to improve it.

I’d be interested to know what method others use after the kitchen
chemistry, to restore the shine to silver jewellery, assuming there
are no deep scratches that need to be aggressively polished out.
IOW, what’s the gentlest way to “polish” the surface so as not to
remove too much metal?

Helen
UK
http://www.hillsgems.co.uk


#9

Please DO NOT TRY THIS method of cleaning silver. There are a
thousand other ways which are safe. If someone is asking how to clean
silver you can assume their knowledge in jewelry making is limited
and to tell them to use cyanide is irresponsible and simply
dangerous. This forum is supposed to be a place where one can expect
to find help, not suggestions which can lead to their death. At a
minimum there should have been warnings and instructions how to use
it. <>

Charles


#10

This is going to sound strange but ketchup works great, I use it on
my SS chains, just fill a small jar about half way, then add your
chains, then top off with more ketchup, shake and leave overnight.

I have been using this for the last couple years, you just rinse
well and nice and shiny without the harsh chemicals.

If someone know why I should not be using, please let me know !

Regards
Tina
CreatedWithFire Studio’s


#11

I use baking soda and a drop or two of water to clean tarnish off it
works great and is easy for most people to do.

Susan
www.ThorntonStudioJewelry.com


#12
The silver sulphide tarnish is chemically converted back to
elemental silver and the sulphide ions combine with hydrogen ions
in solution to produce hydrogen sulphide, which is what you can
smell.

Thanks Helen! I was looking for a way to explain that to my
students.

They all are amazed with the technique and ask if it removes any
silver as it works. I’ve told them that the smell is like a
photographic dark room.

Marla Rudnick


#13

Hi Tina,

This is going to sound strange but ketchup works great...If
someone know why I should not be using, please let me know ! 

Go for it! If it works, why not - it’s inexpensive and gentle and
probably something that others will try after your recommendation.
I’m all for kitchen chemistry!

Helen
UK


#14
This is going to sound strange but ketchup works great...If someone
know why I should not be using, please let me know ! 

Ketchup also works on copper…


#15
This is going to sound strange but ketchup works great...If someone
know why I should not be using, please let me know ! 

That’s funny, Tina, I had always heard it used for brass items,
particularly household stuff like candlesticks, urns or bowls,
lamps, etc. and it works wonders for that, but I never would have
thought of trying it on silver! I do want to try it, just so I can
maybe tell customers of a little trick they can try before they buy a
paste cleaner.

Teri B
www.sandtcreations.com


#16
Ketchup also works on copper.......

I have found brown sauce even better.

Mary Uk Leics


#17

Hello Orchidland,

Not only does ketchup clean silver, but it removes those burned-on
black spots on your white stove top! Pour on enough to cover the
spots, let sit overnight. Voila’

Judy in Kansas


#18

I would like to thank this group for all of your ideas on cleaning
my earrings. I did this and it worked just fine:

Threw them into the vibratory tumbler with sudsy ammonia and 910
compound for 1/2 hour- All is well, even pearls.

BUT I am going to order some Sparkle Bright. And I am going to buy a
quantity wholesale and sell it with my jewelry at shows. (If I am
allowed to do that). I am going to try the ketshup on my copper and
see what happens. thanks again. The cyanide scares me way to much.

Jean


#19

Hi Jean,

Threw them into the vibratory tumbler with sudsy ammonia and 910
compound for 1/2 hour- All is well, even pearls. 

I put a few reject pearls through my ultrasonic once to test the
effects. I too use sudsy ammonia. After they came out, the pearls
looked fine but they had a weird sticky feel even after being
allowed to dry for a while. Are you sure your pearls are okay?
Hopefully they are. I don’t think I’m going to do it again.

Helen


#20
This is going to sound strange but ketchup works great. 

I tried the ketchup on some sterling jewelry and it worked
wondrously - I removed the jewelry from the ketsup after about 3
hours. Now I want to brighten up some lapis earrings - will ketsup
harm soft stones like lapis or turquoise?

Thanks,
Jan
www.designjewel.com