Polishing old chalice

As a member of my church Altar Guild, I have received a very old
(very bad shape) chalice and Patten (plate). For the most part it is
all silver plate but the cup is sterling with very worn gold
plating. My problem, how to carefully polish the silverplate portion
and the gold plate portion without removing too much of the plate. I
have polishing/buffing equipment but want to remove as many scratches
as possible without doing too much damage.

Hi Judy,

As a first step, I’d be tempted to use a new brass brush on them. (a
new -->jeweller’s<-- brass brush.) The trick is to run the brass
brush back & forth in the same direction, under running water, with
a bit of dish soap as a lubricant. It’ll burnish the surface without
taking much of anything off. It will leave scratches, but there are
already scratches, and at least these are all going in the same
direction, so they look deliberate. Try it on a piece of scrap
silver first so you can see what it does. It gives a very attractive
satin finish without any risk of buffing through the plate.


Having dealt with such goods for the first half of my career I’ll say
that you cannot remove any but the lightest scratches on plate
without replating. your other options are natural sponge with good
quality silver polish. rouge cloth, but be careful (not my
preference) buff it but you are in really risky territory What I’ve
done with success is to hand rub a piece with a well used silver
buffing wheel. We used a white compound that I don’t know the name
of, its so long ago. This works similar to a rouge cloth but since
its not red rouge the swirl marks are not so striking