Friday, November 7, 2008

Cleaning siler jewelry

If you are like me, you like to wear your silver jewelry pretty much all the time. Eventually after a lot of wear, you will find that the silver jewelry has tarnished. What does this mean? Silver reacts with sulfur or hydrogen sulfide in the air and acquires a dull build up. It turns to a slight yellowish patina, and this robs the silver jewelry and articles of their natural sheen as well.
Cleaning silver jewelry is not difficult at all.

Pretty much all jewelry designers, jewelry artists have a tumbler (Lortone, or Chicago) which helps keep the silver jewelry shiny all the time. Just put your piece in the tumbler for an hour or so, and when you take it out, it's like new.

What about our customers, those folks that purchase our silver jewelry? They won't have a tumbler available, well, unless they make rock tumbling, in which case they still need another barrel for the stainless steel shot. But that's another story for another day.

So here are a few important tips on how to care for your silver jewelry, whether you buy it from me or any other place.
  1. When you are not wearing that gorgeous piece, store it in individual small plastic bags (ziploc bags), as well as separate compartments in your jewelry box. Consider investing in a jewelry box that is lined with a 'tarnish-free' material to keep your silver bright and sparkling. Makes sure that you store it in a cool and dry place to avoid oxidation.

  2. You can also find anti-tarnish paper strips that you can place inside your jewelry box. Just cut the strips into small pieces and place one in each small plastic bag with your jewelry. You'll find these strips at at a craft or hardware store.

  3. Use a non-abrasive polishing cloth to polish your piece regularly.
    When you purchase your silver jewelry from me, I always include a polishing pad that you can use over and over again to wipe your jewelry clean with it. Actually you can use it right until the whole cloth is pitch black :)
    Btw, silver polishing cloths are available at major supermarkets, at hardware stores and at
    jewelry stores if you run out of stock.

  4. You can also use soap and water to clean your jewelry. But do not dry silver off with paper towels or tissues, always use a soft cloth. Paper towels might scratch your piece.

  5. Never dip your silver jewelry in 'dip' solutions or commercial cleaning solutions even
    though it may say that it is for silver jewelry. If you have Bali Silver beads as elements in your jewelry (those beads with some nice dark groves in them), dip cleaners will remove the black accents on them, as well as discolor the silver over time. Gemstones may also be damaged from the dip solution.

  6. Do not use toothpaste to brush your silver jewelry with . Toothpaste and toothbrush will pretty much scratch your jewelry over time.

  7. Another alternative that I've seen recently in action is this ultrasonic cleaner, which can be used not only for jewellery, but also CDs, DVDs, glasses and dentures. A pretty neat gadget if you ask me, and it's not all that expensive either. About one lunch in a medium style restaurant.
I hope these tips on cleaning silver jewelry will help you keep your silver jewelry shine for a long time to come.
And do not forget, I always include for free a silver polishing pad with every piece (one pad per package sent to you) you are buying silver jewelry from my jewelry shop.


Lindley said...

This is a great summary of jewelry cleaning. Thanks for posting it! I've been thinking about buying a basic tumbler just for polishing; any suggestions on what to buy?

Raka said...

Hi Lindley, thanks for your comment.
Well the tumbler I bought for silver jewelry is a Lortone rotary tumbler, 3A. This has one drum. The 3B has 2 drums, but you won't need that. Also I prefer a Lortone over a Chicago one (I have both), because Chicago is notoriously problematic (belts are cut very fast, motor is burning out fast as well, etc). And the price difference for a 1 barrel tumbler is not that great to not warrant a superior quality product. I'd go with a Lortone any time :)

Cherie said...

thanks for the info. I've got a nice Celtic choker that I can't wear anymore cuz it's all tarnished. The hand polishing with silver polish was the only thing I could think of... and with all the little grooves in the artwork, I could see that as being quite an exercise in frustration!

Mike knows what a tumbler is... they used to use a type of tumbler for cleaning certain machine parts where he used to work, but with the additional detail you provided, I'm going to see if I can't find a picture to show him. The difference between the tumblers they use at work and one that would be used for silver is he said it would have to have some kind of soft material inside. *shrug*

Anyway, you sorta pointed me in the right direction as that piece has now been sitting around for a year and I haven't done anything about it cuz I didn't know where to start. So thanks! xoxoxox

Imran Ali said...

Thanks for such a nice info. It is usually thought that it is not possible to get your silver jewellery cleaned once it has become bad. But your post is good and very informative.
more info about silver jewellery

Anonymous said...

I absolutely adore hand-crafted jewelry. I believe the rest of the world does too. I love getting attention when I'm out on the town, because someone loves my unique, turquoise earrings. I found them at an online store that does not replicate jewelry. You can't find these pieces anywhere:Valentine Jewelry

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