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Tarnish on matte finish


#1

hello all-

here’s my situation: all my pieces are finished using
scotchbrite-you know, cut a little square, screw it onto my flex
shaft, and then I get this great brushed matte (not shiny) finish.
for several reasons I really feel attached to this look, so changing
it is not in my immediate future. what I’ve noticed though, is that,
f’rinstance, when I put on a piece of my jewelry that has been
sitting in my jewelry box for a while, it’s not unusual for it to
have some tarnish on it (I’m just using sterling right now). so I use
my polishing cloth on it which does get rid of that build up. but
after polishing, it never has that same matte brushed look. now that
I’m really taking that step into the world of sales, how does one
deal with this situation when someone is buying my work-how do I
advise customers on how to retain that look-short of sending it back
to me so I can buff it up again with my flex shaft?

davida


#2
how do I advise customers on how to retain that look-short of
sending it back to me so I can buff it up again with my flex shaft? 

I use a product called “anit-tarnish” strips from 3M. You could
offer a square/tab with each order to keep tarnish at bay.

You could also try working with argentium sterling silver, which
doesn’t contain copper like regular sterling (and is responsible for
the tarnishing).

Or, perhaps that softened look after re-polishing could be a part of
your piece gathering patina over time. Another artist I know uses
the softness of 24K gold that way, stating that the bumps we
encounter in life gently leave their mark on her rings and gather
their own patina and story.

Jeni


#3

Simply rub it with a quality drafting eraser. Hardly affects the
finish.


#4

Hi Davida,

I’ve been using aluminimum oxide wheels for matte finishing for
sometime now and using a polishing cloth will do just that, polish
your matte finish. To retain the matte, you want to clean your
pieces, and you might suggest to your customers to use Simple Green
(concentrate) household cleaning product to remove oil and grime. If
they don’t quite get the concept of cleaning, people don’t treat
there jewels like their skin or clothes, then you might want to
supply them with a small square of the 3M pad to matte the finish
again. I hope this helps.

Warm regards,
Reba


#5

Tarnex or other silver tarnish dip solutions will take care of your
problem.

Jim

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#6

Jeni,

Those are great ideas. I believe there are many metalsmiths who put
textures on their work and send the pieces out, not being concerned
(or aware) about their work turning color over time. The 3M
Anti-Tarnish strips are an excellent and inexpensive way to preserve
your finish on the way to the customer. A product that will also
help, but will wear away with time, is Renaissance wax. This is why
I’m a big proponent of Argentium Sterling Silver. Don’t give the
customer any reason to worry about tarnish.

Check my Silver Care Guide for more

Jeffrey Herman
http://www.silversmithing.com


#7

Jim,

Tarnex or other silver tarnish dip solutions will take care of
your problem. 

I would advise against Tarnex. Please see my article on Chemical
Dips: http://www.silversmithing.com/silver/care.htm#Chemical%20Dips.

Jeff Herman


#8
I would advise against Tarnex. Please see my article on Chemical
Dips:
http://www.silversmithing.com/silver/care.htm#Chemical%20Dips 

I understand your concerns but how do you recommend removing tarnish
from silver that has a highly textured surface? I understand using
polish compounds like Goddards on smooth or low relief surfaces but
on bead blasted or other highly textured surfaces any polishing
methods I am aware of will destroy the finish.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#9
I understand your concerns but how do you recommend removing
tarnish from silver that has a highly textured surface? I
understand using polish compounds like Goddards on smooth or low
relief surfaces but on bead blasted or other highly textured
surfaces any polishing methods I am aware of will destroy the
finish. 

If you start to see very light tarnish that can sometimes only be
detected when the object is viewed against a white piece of paper, a
liquid, non-abrasive, unscented, aloe-free hand sanitizer, such as
Purell, may remove the tarnish. Use a large cotton ball and rotate
it regularly to expose unused surfaces, as elements in the tarnish
itself can be very abrasive; then dry the piece with a Selvyt cloth
or cotton dish towel. Try this technique first, as it is the least
abrasive of all silver cleaning methods.

I was truly amazed when I discovered this non-abrasive technique!

Jeffrey Herman
http://www.silversmithing.com


#10

I used to use this finish quite a bit but came to the conclusion that
I couldn’t maintain the finish with out reapplying it every time it
tarnished. Instead I use a heavily sanded surface then I burnish it
with steel wool looks great and is easy to care for with baking soda!

Christine


#11

I highly recommend an ionic cleaner for tarnished surfaces.

http://www.ottofrei.com/store/product.php?productid=3383&cat=0&page=1

If you work with a retailer who expresses a problem with tarnishing
products, recommend that they try one for all thier silver products.
It’s almost a foolproof tool.

Larry


#12

Hi there

Another method here is to not protect the surface, but allow your
customers to clean the matte finish themselves. I was going through
a mokume cufflink phase with matte silver backs and found that
providing my customers with a 35mm film case of pumice powder to tidy
up the backs every now and then was the best solution, as applying
anything like a polishing rag or tarnex to the patina on the mokume
face would have wrecked them. Instructions were to get the object
wet, stick a damp finger in the pumice and give the silver parts a
quick scrub - works a treat.

Can’t take credit for this one though - it is what Alistair McCallum
was recommending for the large pieces of silver backed mokume he
makes.

CP
collarsandcuffs.co.uk


#13
I understand your concerns but how do you recommend removing
tarnish from silver that has a highly textured surface? 

An ionic cleaner, or the old standby of hot water, aluminum foil and
super washing soda. Use a soft toothbrush to remove the loosened
tarnish and the whitish residue left behind on the surface.


#14
I understand your concerns but how do you recommend removing
tarnish from silver that has a highly textured surface? 

How about ionic cleaners?


#15
An ionic cleaner, or the old standby of hot water, aluminum foil
and super washing soda. Use a soft toothbrush to remove the
loosened tarnish and the whitish residue left behind on the
surface. 

He doesn’t like the aluminum and baking soda either. I am asking
mostly from a curiosity point of view as for jewelry I feel silver
dip or aluminum foil and baking or washing soda work just fine. For
hollowware I think his preference makes more sense. I believe that
the ionic cleaner would have the same issues as the dip or foil/soda
in the surface issues his link talks of.

Jim

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#16
I used to use this finish quite a bit but came to the conclusion
that I couldn't maintain the finish with out reapplying it every
time it tarnished. Instead I use a heavily sanded surface then I
burnish it with steel wool looks great and is easy to care for with
baking soda! 

Tarnish is the #1, bar none, complaint I get from customers to the
point where it can keep someone from buying the piece. I have also
noticed that since the advent of PMC, wherein PMC artists can tell
their customers that their pieces will not tarnish, the comparison
makes it even a greater problem. Without understanding the
distinction between the two materials, I find customers feel that
PMC is a superior “Silver” simply because of that aspect and
gravitate toward it and away from pieces made with traditional
silver. Less maintenance seems to be a great selling point… I
guess. I would love to be able to meet that challenge by being able
to tell a customer an easier way to keep their matte piece clean, but
I’ve not found one yet.

Grace


#17

Christine,

Why does your finish clean up with baking soda, when a 3M matte
finish does not? What exactly are you doing when you say “burnish
with steel wool”? My customers complain about not being able to keep
the matte finish nice and often it keeps them from buying another
piece, which is BAD! In the past I have cut a tiny square of the pad
and included that with the purchase but they seem uncomfortable
handling the piece that way.

Grace


#18
Tarnish is the #1, bar none, complaint I get from customers [...] I
would love to be able to meet that challenge 

Depletion silvering? It’s a way to make the surface of standard
sterling more silver-rich, possibly copper-free, on the surface.

Substitute part or all of the sterling in your work with fine silver?
Where appropriate, of course.

If your work is competing with PMC then maybe your shapes and
designs are also kind of chunky and ‘well-built’ and would therefore
suit being fabricated from 999sil, and then you’ll be able to say
that your wrought 999sil is denser and full strength.

Brian


#19

A few days ago, someone said

I have also noticed that since the advent of PMC, wherein PMC
artists can tell their customers that their pieces will not
tarnish, 

I thought someone ought to pipe up here. My apologies if it’s
already been mentioned. PMC does tarnish, and so does fine silver.
Hope
this is helpful.

all the best,
Susan Ellenton