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Jewellery disintegrating in cleaner


Sorry folks! I made a typo. It is sodium bisulphite that I am using
to clean jewellery. I have an ultrasonic machine also but it doesn’t
do nearly as good a job of cleaning really dirty rope chains and some
other pieces as the ultrasonic does. Maybe I should be using grain
alcohol instead of isopropol alcohol for removing shelac. The
isopropol alcohol often takes over night while the sodium bisulphite
takes an hour.

I do not think that the sodium bisulphite solution weaken the
jewellery I mentioned. I’m still using it. In fact, I left a light
box chain in the stuff for the past six months to see if the solution
would destroy it and can detect no damage.The other day I streched
the chain an inch without breaking it just to confirm that. The
reason I asked the question is that I am not 100% sure. Thought
someone out there could she some light.

Last year I was repairing a men’s bracelet and after finishing the
chain broke in three places while buffing. I repaired the breaks but
the moderate pressure would produce new cracks. I eventually melted
the bracelet down and made another out of it. Several

weeks ago I encountered the same problem with another bracelet from
the same manufacture. This one broke when I dropped it to the bottom
of my steam cleaner container, a distance of two feet. Neither of
these bracelets were put in the sodium bisulphite solution.

Is this the result of stress corrosion? I would really like to have
an answer to this question so that I can pass it on to my unfortunate
customers. I’ve heard that chlorine can weaken gold jewellery. Is
this so?

I take it from some of the replies I’ve seen on this subject that not
too many jewellers use sodium bisulphite and others of you are
wondering what on earth ever got into my head to try it. It was
recommended by the gentleman who buys my scrap gold. It does a
wonderful job of cleaning sweeps before sending them off to the
refiner. It also does an incredible job of cleaning jewellery. Just
use some common sense. It definitely eats glass (pyrex), opal,
amethyst, pearls, etc. although with some of these it takes a while.