third plastic container for clean hot water will be needed for rinsing,
if neither your kitchen nor bathroom is sufficiently well-ventilated for
you to use this dip near a sink. Naturally,
if you *are* using a sink for rinsing jewelry items, put a
strainer in there to avoid losses.
2: SORT THINGS OUT
can stay longer in the dip than plated pieces, especially if the latter
have worn spots, so check for hallmarks and wear and separate things
into groups before you begin cleaning.
3: PREPARE & USE THE
your plastic cleaning container with aluminum foil and place silver
pieces in it. Put on rubber
gloves and other gear for protection against the washing soda and mix 5
ounces of it for every 2 ˝ cups of very hot water, then carefully pour
solution over the silver. Silver
pieces must be completely immersed.
Don’t panic when the basin starts to bubble like a witches’
cauldron; that’s the chemical reaction which will transfer tarnish
from your silver to the foil.
and silver plate in good condition can stay in for one to two minutes,
but eroded plate shouldn’t be left for more than 20 seconds.
Check at the appropriate time by removing the piece – using
wooden tongs or a dowel, *never* your hands; rubber gloves
don’t ensure full protection, besides which rubber’s interaction
with the chemical will stain silver.
If tarnish hasn’t disappeared at first peek, you can dip the
item again, monitoring progress closely.
4: RINSE, DRY & POLISH
wooden tongs or doweling, remove cleaned silver and rinse each piece
thoroughly with hot water.
While rinsing, be sure your rubber gloves don’t touch the
finish, remove rubber gloves and wash your silver pieces in hot, soapy
water, scrubbing their recesses with a soft-bristled toothbrush if
necessary. Dry the silver
right away and then buff its surface to a deep shine with your soft
cloth or chamois.
THERE’S AN EASIER WAY. The
preceding is an expert recipe, tried and true, but I’ve also had
extremely good results from commercially available tarnish-removal
systems based on chemical transfer of silver tarnish to magnesium strips
or plates. Some require the
addition of baking soda, while others call for dishwashing liquid.
Based on my experience with such products, nothing seethes like a
cauldron, nor do you need protective gear (since no dangerous materials
are involved) – but be sure to follow the manufacturer’s
instructions, since recommended procedures vary.
with the washing soda-based dip, never mix metals in the same load
or you’ll wind up with a mess.
UPDATE ON AMBER CARE: A
reader in Sweden, where Baltic amber is happily prevalent, says the
cloudy look amber jewelry sometimes acquires can be polished away with
toothpaste! The clouding is
an oxide, a form of tarnish that has to be “filed down” by a mildly
abrasive substance. Thanks
for the good information, Karin!
I recently discovered a wealth of information
online concerning just about every gemstone there is. It's a
wonderfully well-organized site, too. When you have
time, drop by jewelrysupplier.com -
I believe you'll find it as amazing as I did.
you all got your acid-free tissue paper, as recommended last month,
and wrapped your jewelry in it. I
spent quite a lot of time doing that, myself.
careful where you keep your jewelry boxes, too!
Temperature extremes can be as destructive as dampness, so
store them out of direct sunlight and away from any source of
humidity, heat or cold.
If you’re in a humid climate, a dehumidifer for the room
where you keep your jewelry will be a sound investment.