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Tarnish protection

Lacquers & Renaissance Wax C

Lacquering silver and silverplate is generally not recommended for a
number of reasons: 1. The individual may not properly prepare the
object’s surface to accept the lacquer. 2. It’s very difficult to
obtain a uniform coating, even when applied by a professional. 3. If
the coating is not applied well, it may have streaks and small holes,
allowing tarnish to form. 4. Lacquer will eventually yellow and
crack, allowing tarnish to form within the fissures and eventually
under the protective coating. Strong solvents must then be used to
remove the lacquer and the piece refinished. Take a look at these
pieces: that were once

If an object is placed in an open display where surface protection
is necessary, Renaissance wax, an archival micro-crystalline product,
is recommended. Renaissance will not yellow or crack and will last
for years if handled properly. Renaissance wax is not as durable as
lacquer, so the object should be handled with heavyweight natural
cotton jersey inspection gloves as acid from fingers may eventually
remove it. Since dust can be acidic and eventually wear through the
wax, placing your silver in a closed display will help insure that
particulate will not fall on the object’s surface.

Whether inside or outside a display case, every few months gently
wipe the object with a Selvyt cloth or soft cotton cloth. This will
keep the wax or silver polish with tarnish protectant from breaking
down prematurely.

Renaissance wax should not be used on flatware or other objects that
will be used to eat from. When applying Renaissance, do so in small
areas at a time (no larger than a 3" square). Buff with a soft cotton
cloth or cotton makeup pad immediately. Overlap each area to insure
the entire surface gets coated.

Jeff Herman


Thank you so much for the on lacquers especially. I was
just recently questioning the use of such items like Krylon’s clear
coat enamel.

Even if one could properly apply it, the problems you describe with
longevity are more than enough to keep it off my silver.

I was also debating the staying power of Renaissance Wax in the
hands of my customers. I suppose good instructions on the care of
their purchase will have to do…

Thanks again!

In my experience, while the wax is great for the show room, neither
wax nor lacquer will survive mistreatment at home, and residual wax
or lacquer means the piece will likely end up looking pretty yucky;
render the pieces almost impossible for customers to clean
satisfactorily, and add another step for the professional cleaner.
I’ve tried both, experimentally, on pieces I wear myself, and I
really don’t like the way they turn out with time, even with the care
I give my own jewellery.

I strongly believe that customers need to have it explained to them
that silver and copper WILL tarnish over time (even the “tarnish
resistant” alloys will eventually) This will occur faster or slower
depending on local environmental issues (e. g. town vs country),
individual body chemistry and how often the piece is worn.

I always explain that just as they wouldn’t expect to wear their
clothing without laundering or cleaning it, and they wouldn’t keep
it all jumbled up in a box to be rummaged through daily, then they
shouldn’t expect their jewellery to stay pristine without some sort
of customer care. Then I often show them an older piece (something
I’m wearing probably) that has built up a gorgeous patina over time,
and tell them that with the correct care, their piece will have a
singular patina that is unique to the wearer.

Metals respond spectacularly well to just a little bit of TLC, and
once explained to them in terms of their clothing, my clients seem to
have a “light-bulb” moment, and they understand how giving a little
bit of care to their jewellery is not a big chore and the results far
outweigh the “bother” of the attention.


I put a piece of Rio Grande’s sunshine cloth in a zip envelope with
my calling card to my customers. I explain that the piece needs a
little loving massage with the cloth every now and then. From that
point on it is the customers responsibility to keep the piece

Lee Epperson

Hello Friends,

The article I e-mailed on Renaissance wax was primarily for those
individuals who collect larger pieces, not jewelry. As we all know,
jewelry can be challenging to protect against tarnish because of it
being handled without protective gloves. Every piece of jewelry has
its own method of care.

Many times I have recommend cleaning jewelry (with no porous
attachments) with Method Glass & Surface Cleaner, then rinsed, once a
week. This “method” will remove any oils and grime that help support
the formation of tarnish. Method will also remove the very
beginnings of tarnish formation that may only be noticeable when a
piece of glossy white paper is held against the object.

Jeff Herman