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Ultrasonic vs. Patina

Hi everyone! Quick question - I am finding that Shell Shine residue from charged walnut shells in my finishing tumbler is clogging up the intentionally blackened crevices of my jewelry charms. So I bought one of those fabric pressure guns (OMG so cool) which works amazingly well to remove it BUT I have several hundred charms to clean and I don’t have that kind of time. Now here’s the question…would an ultrasonic cleaner remove the gunk (I think so) but would it also remove the patina in the crevices…which I don’t want. Anyone have a thought on this??
Thanks all…stay well!
Melissa from KY

A magnetic tumbler will polish the fine areas of your silver without leaving a residue. It also has the advantage of setting the patina, making it more resistant to the ultrasonic. This assumes you are using liver of sulfur as the agent.

Thanks Dusteater - Well I’m using Griffith Silver Black. But you may be right about the magnetic tumbler . I just emptied my shell shine to retrieve my charms and the chrome oxide I had added prior to tumbling was in a giant glob in the bottom of the tumbler - ugh. So now another problem to solve!

I charge my walnut shells with Simichrome Polish

Regarding the fabric pressure gun, how do you hold onto the charms while using it? Surely you don’t hold them with your fingers.

I don’t think the ultrasonic, by itself, will remove black patina from your jewelry, although if you fill it with pickling solution then it will. There are soap solutions you can put in the ultrasonic that are much gentler. A magnetic tumbler filled with pins, on the other hand, has a mechanical scrubbing action that’s intended to get into cracks and remove whatever’s in them. You can accelerate the process with various solutions, but even with plain water it would tend to remove some patina.

what is shell shine??? and walnuts in tumbler???

You can learn a lot from these websites:


Hey Betty! Yes I’ve heard about Simichrome Polish…I think my mom used that to polish our silver back in the day lol. I def may try it!

I hold the charms with a wooden ring clamp! It has a leather lined grip so it is perfect.
Cheers! Melissa

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Thanks Awerby! No I don’t think I would use pickling…prob something gentle at first. I’ve about decided on the ultrasonic…I can use it on a lot of other jewelry as well as the gunky ones. I’ll prob wait on the magnetic pin finisher until I try the ultrasonic.
Cheers! Melissa

Melissa, I use a tiny amount of Simichrome Polish with the walnut shells. It’s such a small amount you would never know it’s in there. After a run, you could always add more if you think it’s necessary.

I inherited a tube that belonged to my Mom, and it was just as effective as the fresh.

I also use it on my rolling mill, thanks to Rhonda Coryell’s video

The ring clamp is a great idea to use with the fabric pressure gun. I bought a gun to clean gemstone rough, but I’ve been stuck in the mindset that it has to be like a heavy plastic crate with holes and sides, because that’s what I saw used for cleaning rough rock on youtube, but the holes in those crates are too big for gemstone rough, and the plastic crates with small holes are too lightweight for the gun’s pressure.

When I used it to remove a spot on a shirt, for stability I tied the shirt around a flat grill pan.

Thanks Betty - I actually think I still have my mom’s polish in the pantry!!
Yes I hope the ring clamp works for your gemstones!! Another thought for your fabric when using the gun…an embroidery hoop might work well and if put in the sink may not cause as much back splatter.

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Don’t use any ammonia in the ultrasonic. I will definitely remove the patina in the crevices.

Thanks Bob!