Hi to all,
Everyday I read the postings with interest. Thanks to Ganoksin for
the forum and everyone for their useful contributions.
I share Laura's preference for satin and matted surfaces. They can be
used to great effect but are very hard to clean and keep clean.
Rubbing satin or matted surfaces whilst cleaning, only helps to
polish the metal, which defeats the whole effect.
I use matted surfaces a lot in my jewellery and can sympathise with
your problem Laura.
Four suggestions follow
In the past I used chemical dip containing thiourea to remove the
discolouration but found that it could only be used on pieces set
with hardy stones. The acid in which the thiourea is dissolved causes
major damage to the surface of chemically reactive gems. Thiourea is
also poisonous and regarded as a possible carcinogen by some. The
thought struck me that ionic reduction cleaning would probably be the
answer - it was. So that is what I use. It is a remarkably useful
tool in keeping jewellery clean in general, but satin or matted
surfaces in particular. The process has two added spin offs. One is
that the process is safe on pieces set with delicate stones like
pearl, coral, opal, turquoise, lapis etc. The second spin off is
that millions of hydrogen bubbles are formed on the surface of the
metal. These have the effect of scrubbing and loosening bits attached
to the surface of the metal. By the nature of how they are formed
they have the ability to lift bits left deep in the matted surface.
I know ionic cleaning has been around for some time but it has never
struck a chord and become mainstream and part of every jewellers
toolkit; it ought to be! I was so impressed with the effectiveness
of electrolysis for cleaning metal surfaces that together with my
son, an Electronics Design Engineer, set about designing a simple and
versatile unit of our own. We now manufacture and sell these units.
There are of course other manufacturers of ionic cleaners, have a
look on the net. Electrolysis works very, very well, give it a try!
Two further suggestions Laura, make sure that you thoroughly
neutralise the pickle with bicarb and wash the surface thoroughly in
deionised or distilled water. Some tap water can contain sulphur and
other minerals which can discolour the surface. Secondly, some
lacquers set by a chemical reaction which can liberate substances
which discolour metal. You will also loose that attractive matted
surface once the varnish is applied, so it isn't the best solution.
If you go the way of ionic reduction cleaning, you will be able to
easily apply an invisible tarnish inhibiting layer by electroplating
the surface with sodium dichromate. One word of caution though, this
substance is slightly acidic and cannot be used on pieces set with
chemically reactive stones. Ionic cleaners are very simple to use
and inexpensive to buy and run. They can be recommended to customers
so that they can safely clean their own jewellery and keep it in
pristine condition. You could even offer your customers a free clean
as part of the service. Hope I have been of some help Laura.
If Ganoskin will permit me, our units can be seen on our web site
Regards to all,