If any silver was being removed the metal would be showing signs of
pink in the top layer (copper) wouldn't it?
No, you wouldn’t see a layer of pink. Sterling silver is an alloy
(mixture) of silver and copper - not a laminated structure. When we
make sterling silver jewellery and polish it, thus removing very
thin layers, we don’t see copper appearing. The copper atoms are
completely interspersed with the silver atoms.
I can’t see how you could be removing silver by using naptha either
Shirley. I’d be very interested to hear others’ views on this. With
the traditional method of removing tarnish - the aluminium foil,
bicarbonate of soda and hot water method - although it allegedly does
not remove silver, it essentially does, because although it converts
the silver sulphide back into silver, its surface is left dull and
frosty and so it needs to be buffed back to a shine, which removes
silver. So your method does sound very intriguing indeed.