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Silver Dip

Thank you for the replies to this question. Given that silver dip
removes tarnish does this mean that if an item was polished to a
high polish rouge finish then left exposed to air for a while and it
became tarnished, that a dip in silver dip would restore it to the
exact state it was in just after receiving a high polish?

I am not exactly clear on how tarnish affects the polish - I thought
polishing gave the piece its best chance at protection from tarnish
by reducing its surface area to the smallest possible by making it
so smooth. And, I thought that tarnish was the result of a chemical
reaction that occured on the surface of the metal… so, I would
have thought that to remove tarnish that layer of metal would need
to be removed… So, does the silver dip remove this layer, or
reverse the reaction or have I totally got my understanding of
tarnish mixed up?

R.R. Jackson

Tarnish chemically alters the outer layer of the silver forming a
new compound. The dip reverses the chemical change but does not shine
the redeposited metal.

mike w


tarnishing is a chemical reaction between the metal and either the
sulphur or oxygen in the atmosphere. The corrosion product will
occupy a larger volume than the original metal surface. When you use
a silver dip to remove the corrosion product, you are removing some
metal but not an even layer over the surface of the metal.

Silver dips usually consist of an acid, an inhibitor (this stops the
acid from attacking your polished surface) and water. When they
remove the tarnish the metal ions involved in the corrosion product
are also removed. This results in microscopic pitting and therefore
a loss of the polished surface at the corrosion site. Due to the
inhibitor contained in the dip, the rest of the non-tarnished surface
should be unaffected. The dip itself will not polish the surface of
the metal.

To reverse the corrosion process, you need an electron source
(sacraficial metal) and a power source (battery).

I hope this helps
Eileen Procter

I recently bought a jar of Ellanar Silver Dip and have been
completely underwhelmed by its ineffectiveness. It seems to remove
tarnish in its early stages, while it’s still yellowish, but old
brown or black tarnish just snickers at it. It also says on the
label not to use it on “antique-finish” silver (I’m assuming this
means silver with black oxidized recesses), but in trying it on a
couple of pieces blackened with Griffith’s SilverBlack, it did
nothing. A couple of those same pieces had some very bad areas of
dense tarnish, which also remained unaffected Is the SilverBlack in
some way accelerating the tarnishing process, or making it worse?

I’ve also been dealing with another piece on which I tried the
soaking-in-dish-soap method of tarnish removal. I got interrupted
before I could dry the piece (although I had rinsed it), and when I
returned, the water on the piece had evaporated, leaving big dark
blotches that I seem powerless to remove. I’ve tried just about
every tarnish removal method discussed here. The piece is a
three-dimensional, elliptical form built up of perpendicular planes
of sterling, set with a carnelian cab. The surface with the black
blotches is totally inaccessible - it never occurred to me to think
about post-consumer care when I made this thing! Have you any ideas
as to how I can restore it? I was beginning to think about a dunk
in nitric acid… :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for your help,

Jessee Smith
Cincinnati, Ohio

Silver dip is designed to remove tarnish. Tarnish is silver sulfide,
it occurs from exposure of the silver to sulfur containing compounds
whether they are airborne or in direct contact with the silver. It
will remove liver of sulfur patinas or other patinas that are
producers of silver sulfide. It will not remove firestain or oxides
from soldering or patinas based on other chemical compounds (like
selenides). It will not work miracles but it is very good at
removing silver sulfide.


Jim Binnion

James Binnion Metal Arts
Phone (360) 756-6550
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (360) 756-2160

Member of the Better Business Bureau

Jessee, do you have a tumbler? I polish just about all of my pieces
in either stainless steel or carbon steel shot with burnishing
liquid. I don’t tumble anything that’s silver plated, or that has a
soft stone or pearls. I’ve been most pleased with the results. Just
watch the tumbling time, especially if you have used liver of sulfur
or some other antiquing method. For my money, it beats a silver dip
hands down.