At-Home Tarnish-Busting Remedies

Jul 30, 2008

I help out at one of my local bead shops every so often. As one of the store managers mentioned, it helps sate “Jean’s need for adult conversation.” That pathetic reality aside, I also like to be at the shop to see and hear about what other beaders are making and doing. It’s a great way to learn about beading dilemmas and their solutions.

Case in point: One day I was helping a customer with a silver purchase and she was absolutely bubbling over to share an at-home tarnish removing method. I couldn’t wait to go home and try it.

Tarnish-Busting Formula
1. Choose a plastic or glass (never metal) pan that is deep enough so that when filled with water your tarnished jewelry will be covered.
2. Put a piece of aluminum foil in the bottom of the pan. 
3. Pour near-boiling water into the pan.
4. Add a couple tablespoons of baking soda to the water.
5. Place the tarnished jewelry onto the piece of aluminum.
6. If necessary, add more baking soda to the dish until you see the tarnish coming off your piece. You should get a slight bubbling effect with an odd odor.

 

As soon as I got home that day I tried it, and guess what? It worked like a charm! I found I needed to take a soft toothbrush to some of the metal beads to get the tarnish completely off, but it didn’t take much. I’m not sure how the chemical reaction would affect gemstones or other beads, and I would never try it with a piece strung on silk, cotton, or nylon thread because of the hot water. But it went perfectly for this bracelet made of sterling silver, freshwater pearls, and crystals strung on beading wire.




I’ve heard of other at-home tarnish remedies, too:

• Mix mild soap, water, and a drop of ammonia. Rub the tarnished piece with the mixture and wipe clean with a soft cloth.  

• Place clean silver in a plastic zip bag with a piece of white chalk inside. This keeps new tarnishing at bay.

• Cover newly cleaned silver with car wax to inhibit tarnishing.

Do you have more at-home silver-cleaning tips? Or a favorite off-the-shelf product you love to use? Share them on the website!


Jean Campbell writes about beading and life every Wednesday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Jean, please post them on the website. Thanks!



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Comments

LisaC@91 wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 9:07 AM

I also had a home remedy for cleaning silver jewelry:

In a glass bowl put a piece of aluminum foil. Pour straight ammonia in the bowl, enough to cover the jewelry being cleaned. Let sit for a couple of minutes, rinse and dry. Voila'!

JayelF wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 9:09 AM

I have heard about using the aluminum foil with ammonia in the water.  I like the idea of using baking soda instead--it's my favorite cleaner & deoderizer.  I assume one doesn't use a metal pan because it would discolor, but what about using a disposable aluminum foil pan?  Then you wouldn't have to devote a glass pan to your silver alchemy.

AnneL@53 wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 9:10 AM

Keep your silver jewellery in a plastic bag with a silica gel packet.

(These come in pill containers).  This reduces the moisture that causes tarnish in the first place.

Anne Linton, Campbellford, Ontario

PidgeM wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 9:11 AM

I scrub the silver with a soft toothbrush and any gritty toothpaste. Sounds really hokey, but it works. I also used this method to bring some copper up to shine.

on Jul 30, 2008 9:21 AM

OOOH.  Good suggestions, all of them  Pidge, I do the toothpaste one when I'm in a hurry!  But I thought I'd read somewhere that toothpaste could scour softer beads, so I don't do it often.  I like the idea of the baking soda, I'm going to have to try that.

MarshaD@8 wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 9:21 AM

toothpaste works great...any of the tartar control varieties, I use Aim since it is the cheapest and leaves all of my silver minty-fresh!!  learned this from a metals instructor.

MarshaD@8 wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 9:22 AM

Toothpaste does not hurt beads...even good pearls  - it is totally safe

on Jul 30, 2008 9:28 AM

Thanks Marsha, that's good to know.  LOL, I like the minty-fresh silver!

BarbaraG@82 wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 9:29 AM

My mother always used her Magnesium pan.  You fill it with water and your silver piece - jewelry or teapot - and it will remove the tarnish.  She often added a little soap, but I think that was to wash the silver she was dunking.  I still have her pan and use it for silver cleaning and cooking.  Check thrift shops for these older pans - they were labeled on the bottom.

on Jul 30, 2008 9:31 AM

Oh good, thanks Marsha.  I'm glad to hear that.  By the way, why the tartar control variety vs. any other vareity?

Labeadaloca wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 9:38 AM

If your silver wire has oxidized, get a pair of dish gloves (the rubber kind), a couple of paper towels, and a bottle of acitone (available at hardware store, but can cause headaches if it permeates the skin, so that's what the gloves are for ... but in some countries, it is still used in finger nail polish remover).  

Fold the papertowel into quaters (half then half again) put the gloves on, then put a small amount of acitone in the center.  Put your wire in the center, running from top to bottom when you fold the paper once again and PULL the wire through.

Once or twice should be fine, and make sure you do the end you're holding.  This is an old trick that has been used for decades here in the South West with Native American Jewelry with prices written in permanent marker on the back.  It generally works on anything metal, or porcelain/glazed ceramics.

PennyM@15 wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 9:46 AM

I use Jewel Brite which cleans all metals PLUS it's safe for pearls, opals, soft stones, costume and antique jewelry.  And it's biodegradable.  I bought it at the Gem show.

And, MAAS, which cleans all metals, glass, plexiglas, fiberglas and enamel. I bought this on-line.

MixesJewelry wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 9:47 AM

I clean my jewelry in a glass bowl with aluminum foil in it, 2 teaspoons of salt and a splash of vinegar... even bali silver gets as bright as thai pure silver.

MixesJewelry wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 9:49 AM

forget to say: and poor in boiling (or almost) water

KayD wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 9:54 AM

Would the soaking in baking soda, or amonia ruin any antiqued

Southwestern jewelry that have the black oxidize on it?

If so, how would these be cleaned?

KD from NC

Ruth AnnS@3 wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 10:05 AM

I tried the aluminum foil and baking soda thing on my wedding silver.  It was sterling, not plate.  It completely destroyed my tea service and candlesticks. It's an old English trick, but I don't recommend it.

Ruth Ann

www.raggbaggs.blogspot.com

http://r2swanger.etsy.com

Labeadaloca wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 10:34 AM

For KayD and Indian Jewelry:

Turquoise, especially in an older piece is very permeable, so it can have the small holes filled with the baking soda.  Once it dries, it can expand and make small cracks (at least this is what was told to me, I've not personally seen this happen), and the coral is also fragile and can react in a similar manner.  

I don't believe that ammonia is very kind to many pieces of jewelry (if a specific solder was used, I've heard, but not witnessed, that it can start attacking there and soon break the shank of a ring).  

I've not heard of any other way to clean Indian Jewelry except with something like a "Svelty cloth".  That may be a brand name, but basically a cloth that cleans the lens in your glasses, but set it aside to only work for that.  

There are other products on the market that are similar, but the most important thing I can say about old Indian Jewelry, you want that patina on it, as it attests to the age and condition of the jewelry.  

When a silver item oxidizes, generally it stops on the surface and doesn't penetrate deeper like other oxides.  Oxidization is nature's way of returning that object back to its most stable form.  However with silver, you now have a protective boundary between the interaction of air and silver.

SandiR@8 wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 11:29 AM

Thirty years ago I worked  in a very ritzy Kansas City Plaza District eatery. They cleaned their copper serving lids, weekly, by submerging them in leftover Steak soup. The tomatoes in the soup brightened the copper! So I've tried it: tomato juice baths work for polishing copper components.

Sandi Rose

SandiR@8 wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 11:31 AM

Oh!

How about using an aluminum pop can?

Before recycling of course!

Right size for most pieces.

Ann M4 wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 12:00 PM

WARNING!!!! As Ruth Ann sadly pointed out, that trick of mixing aluminum and silver plate will destroy your silver plated flatware or jewelry.  That's why my mother taught me NEVER to put silver in the dishwasher with anything aluminum.  

I store my silver jewelry in a plastic bag with some chalk in it.  That's a good preventive measure.  I also put small pieces in the tumbler with steel shot and borax when removing the fire scale from small soldered pieces of jewelry that I am making.  They come out sparkling clean.

Ann

Russtty wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 12:04 PM

Cleaning silver

In cleaning silver this what you need to do, use an Aluminium suacepan not a foil one. The formula for cleaning is 1Tbs. Baking soda to 1Qt of boiling water.This works best if you use a plate to keep the jewelry off the bottom of the pan,best if you use an Aluminium canning plate.Warning this is a chemical reaction ,it will darken any pan that you use because you are Plateing the Oxide onto the pan. Do Not! use this with any soft Gems :Pearls,Opal ,Calcite, Flourite,Howlite,or Amber.This works on Table cutlery also i.e. Silver plate. Please do not use High or Medium grit toothpastes on your silver ,when you do this you are acctualy removeing the surface. American Indian Silver jewelry in which the darkness adds to the design;should only be cleaned with a soft cloth( Tee-shirt). To keep the silver shining use Automotive Laquer(Clear Only),protect any stones from the laquer

Amoinia is a degreaser only it won't clean the silver,Do Not mix the baking soda with the Amonia.

Clgillespie wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 12:35 PM

My grandmother swears by denture cleaner.  It is just abrasive enough to clean and gentle enough to use on stones as fragile as pearls and opals.

KimS@81 wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 1:00 PM

Hi all,

I too use the toothepaste method but use only plain, non gel, non tarter or whitening paste.  

You know the old stuff we grew up with.  Colgate still makes it.

I place a dollop on a damp handywipe.  No paper towels which may be cut by the beads.

I use a soft toothebrush to get into the crannies.

Wash thoroughly with plain water afterwards.

The paste is gentle enough not to hurt the silver or gemstones.

I also use the gel packs found in pill bottles and shoe boxes to help prevent tarnish.

I'd never heard of the chalk trick but will certainly try it.  Its definitely cheeper than a new pair of shoes.

Cisray

www.cisraydesigns.etsy.com    

Atalanta2 wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 2:32 PM

I am a fan of the aluminum and baking soda trick. I didn't believe it at first (yes, I bought one of those "miracle" tarnish remover plates before I realized what it was) and tried it on some broken silver goblets I had laying around.

This will work on sterling just fine. Plated metals are always going to be iffy, if there is some problem with the plating, it could be nasty.

For the chemical why of this, look here:

scifun.chem.wisc.edu/.../TARNISH.html

on Jul 30, 2008 2:45 PM

The little cylinders found in vitamins and medicine bottles are used to absorb moisture.  I keep them for popping into a ziplock bag with wire, and for individual pieces I'm storing in bags

.  

on Jul 30, 2008 2:45 PM

I have tried alot of the commercial laquers and waxes to keep the silver shiney or to hold the patina.  I find that the best thing on the market is Rennaisance Wax.  It was developed by the British Museum for antiques, including jewelry.

Only a few people here in the USA carry it.

Murf

DebWAZ wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 3:44 PM

My grandmother always kept a piece of chalk in her jewelry box to keep the silver from tarnishing. The silica packs that come in medicine bottles, purses, shoes, etc. work well, too.

There is an anti-tarnish cloth that you can buy at some fabric stores or at jewelry stores. Some of the jeweler's suppliers also carry anti-tarnish paper that pieces can be wrapped in when being stored.

::putting on jeweler's wife hat::

Most toothpastes have/or had pumice (as a fine powder) in their formulas. Using any kind of abrasive - toothpaste included - wears away the silver. It does in miniscule amounts, so you won't notice anything after 1 time or even a dozen times, but it will eventually wear away the silver and it will damage stones like amber, pearls, etc..

We have sterling silver spoons on the jewelry cases of our store that date back to the 1700's. You can see how many times they were polished with an abrasive, as there is a definite change in the shape of the bowl of the spoon.

Tarnish is a chemical reaction of the silver to the pollutants in the air. This is more or less the same process as iron rusting. To "clean" silver, you want to reverse the tarnish process, rather than remove the tarnish. To keep it from tarnishing, you want to keep it away from pollutants like smoke, etc. "Smog" or air pollution is different all over the country. In some towns, silver will tarnish at the drop of a hat. In others, silver takes a relatively long time to tarnish. Storing finished pieces in an airtight container is a good idea, too.

The tips here are good, but I am always nervous when trying home remedies - especially mixing chemicals like aluminum (yes, it's a chemical, even if it's your good saucepan) and baking soda or ammonia. I have always liked Hagerty's silver cleaner, but it's not advised for soft stones, pearls, etc. Hagerty's informed my husband that you CANNOT use their silver cleaner in combination with coated Swarovskis (including their pearls), either - it WILL remove the coating. IF I wanted to clean a silver piece containing "soft" stones with Hagerty's, I would spot clean it using a small brush or cotton swab to keep contact with between the solution and the stones to a minimum and then rinse, rinse, rinse with lots of clear water. I have used Hagerty's for silver earrings with small turquoise as a one time cleaner - a quick dip and swish - but, it's not something I would recommend as a regular cleaner.

The absolute best thing I've seen to clean silver is an ionic cleaner!  We just got one in the store and it cleans chain (still on the spool), findings, jewelry and more. It even works on plated/base metal chain and findings. It doesn't damage pearls, Swarovski or turquoise, either! It seems as if silver cleaned with the ionic cleaner stays un-tarnished longer than silver cleaned using other methods.

The ionic cleaner is a little expensive for casual use - but if you are serious about your jewelry making/silver work, it's a very good tool to consider adding to your collection!

Deb - AZ Bead Depot

SandraK wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 4:59 PM

I'd love to try all of the above methods on my Tarnished Flute, now and then I have it professionally cleaned. Keeping it in it's case with some chamois , wiping it with chamois helps. In between professional cleaning I use Silvo, I feel makes my flute so happy to be clean! If it's bright and shiny it plays bright and shiny tunes! I'm willing to try the silica packs though, thanks!  Cheers Sandra

on Jul 30, 2008 6:16 PM

I live in Hawaii and the salt air can tarnish silver in a week if left in open air.As a professional chemist and collector of  OLDE silver , I am dismayed to see the 'aluminum foil with various additives soak'  surface here. Due to differences in the electrochemical potential, you will wind up with aluminum coated on your silver. It won't tarnish any more but if it's quality silver, beads, chain, flatware you have just reduced its value. Take a good hard look at the after picture of the soaked silver. That is not the color of silver, that is the grayish tone of aluminum.

Elbow grease and a good silver polish is the way to go; Hagerty's or Silvo one  pasteliquid and one liquid  so they attack different  types of tarnish. Once clean, get Pacific Silvercloth bags or fabric and store your silver in there. NO plastic bags please unless you like that sticky feel of old plastic. Rubbermaid, Iris plastic tight latching cases are my favorites. I have some 8 year old Bali Beads from when I was rich and hit a trade show; stored this way and they look straight from the artist. If any of you watch the films of rich folks of the 1700s and 1800s sometimes you see the kitchen staff (butler) with white gloves or mittens just rubbing the silver. Now just get a kitchen staff and you're all set.  Aloha,  Janet

Jsmaz wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 11:52 PM

I love the idea of being able to clean jewelry that has silver components on it but I always assumed you should not immerse beading wire in water since I know from personal experience that it can rust.  Can you put a piece like that in an ionic cleaner and not ruin it, Deb?  I see that some of them are not horribly expensive, and I have  pieces that would be a whole lot easier to clean that way.

on Jul 31, 2008 12:13 AM

the toothpaste is my favorite- great use for dollar store toothpaste! it might poison me, but it won't poison the silver! you can recycle old toothbrushes for the polishing- since they're used, they've been softened up & are less likely to scratch.

JeanetteS@12 wrote
on Jul 31, 2008 1:40 AM

I have an antique jewellery collection and have for many years used aluminium foil, WASHING SODA and hot water to clean my jewellery pieces.  I would not use this to clean Opals, turquoise or pearls.  Anything slightly porous is at risk.  This does not leave an aluminium film on any pieces.  I've been using it on gold for about 15 years and don't have a grey covering on any gold including my wedding ring.  It is bright and beautiful.  You must however take care with the stones.  Heat can also destroy stones.

Otherwise, a rouge cloth does the trick with silver and gold.

JeanetteS@12 wrote
on Jul 31, 2008 1:42 AM

I forgot to add, that you can see the dirt drawn away from very dirty pieces of jewellery.

maggiebarker wrote
on Jul 31, 2008 1:56 AM

Margaret

I've found the small micro-fiber cloths you get with a new pair of glasses fantastic.  As it's made for cleaning glass, it's guaranteed not to scratch your silver or any other metal, crystals, and glass beads.

I also find if I go to the opometrist, they usually give me another cloth for free.

Happy polishing

DebWAZ wrote
on Jul 31, 2008 3:57 PM

Aloha, Janet!

Another voice of "reason and moderation"!  Good explanation about the aluminum "plating" the silver. You should hear my DH when someone brings in a sterling silver item to be fixed where the customer's hubby used HIS solder to fix it first - "because it's cheaper and I already have the stuff, anyway". Sterling silver and regular solder create an amalgam that is virtually impossible to undo.

To expand on your comment about staff rubbing silver with white gloves - the best way to keep silver from tarnishing is touch it and wear it!

jsmaz,

The ionic cleaner literally only takes seconds. Since it's not in the liquid very long, I don't think there would be much chance to create rust on the beading wire. If you are worried about rust - you could rinse the piece in VERY hot water, so the piece dries almost instantly. Think of rinsing dishes in very hot water - they dry so quickly you don't need to use a towel.

JeanetteS,

It IS **washing soda** - not baking soda - that is supposed to be used with the aluminum trick. There is a difference between them. That's why some of these home remedies are scary and often downright dangerous! My dad once mixed bleach and ammonia to strip the old wax off his floor. It worked like lightning, but the fumes darned near killed him!

The reason your gold hasn't gotten an aluminum "film" on it is because gold is a "noble" metal. Gold can get dirty, but it doesn't tarnish or oxidize because it is stable.

Shiny silver dreams to all!

Deb - AZ Bead Depot

ShelbyR@3 wrote
on Jul 31, 2008 9:36 PM

DO NOT USE TOOTHPASTE TO CLEAN FINE SILVER!

A professional jeweler on a lapidary site explained it best, but it actually breaks down the molecular bond in gold, and I believe he said that about sterling silver, but I'm not sure.

In fact, when I took my beautiful engagement ring in to a jeweler to replace a diamond that had been lost, he immediately asked if I used toothpaste to clean it. He said never use it and said that when he looks at it under some special "scope" he has, that he can actually see the pits caused by the toothpaste. This isn't the jeweler who made my ring, so he wasn't trying to cover up shoddy workmanship.

I also saw an article on this somewhere. If I find it, I'll come back and post it.

Aluminum doesn't cause the staining on silver in the dishwasher, it's actually the stainless steel and other metals.

ShelbyR@3 wrote
on Jul 31, 2008 9:47 PM

Here we go -

from rocktumbinghobby.com (this guy is a professional jeweler)

"Watch out for toothpaste. It contains sodium saccarin. That penetrates even an homogenous alloy like sterling. Works great for a few times, then the material gets hardened. Especially gold. Most rings split at the lower center, and prongs pop off on stones. This is caused either by sodium saccarin, or chlorides. I can tell, when I repair the splits, or retip the prongs. On fresh gold, the flux "prints" white fluff, then it goes brown, then liquid. With a chronic toothpaste user, or a pool indulgent, the flux turns black at the break. This is the chlorides and sodium burining out.

Sterling is a much more stable alloy. Gold is very porous, under magnification it looks like the end grain of a piece of wood. It absorbs everything.

Sodium bicarbonate, even being a salt, is a great antioxidant for precious metals. Long term storage of sterling, put baking soda in a baggie, then the item, then seal and forget.

Miracle clean."

Also, from Ganoskin, an excellent resource for anyone involved in working with jewelry. Not as detailed but still good advice.:

www.ganoksin.com/.../msg00275.htm

SRiaPeterson wrote
on Aug 4, 2008 2:01 PM

I had a recipe for cleaning silver from my local bead store's web-site, but since they closed, it's no longer accessable. They used water sortner salt, an aluminum pan, and hot water. I got some of the salt and hoped I kept the recipe with the baggie, but no such luck. I googled the concept and this link has a similar recipe:

www.bloglander.com/.../cleaning-silver-jewelry-with-water-softener

I'll keep looking....

SRiaPeterson wrote
on Aug 4, 2008 2:26 PM

found it...wrong bead store's web-site. I got this from the Tips section at www.bobbybead.com:

Make Your Own Silver Polish!

1 tsp water softener, like Calgon

1 tsp salt

1 cup warm water

1 aluminum plate (disposable silver foil works best)

Stir into plate, drop in silver pieces. Shines to a bright white silver instantly! NOTE: Use only with Sterling Silver--Stone will crack!

CorneliaS@5 wrote
on Aug 4, 2008 6:58 PM

Hi ,

I have seen this done before with Silver cutlery.  I tried it on a bunch of earrings and it worked great, but some of those earrings had amber on them.  It seems to affect the amber.  The surface of it felt a little sticky.  I rinsed it off, and tried to dry it off, with a soft cloth, this was a mistake and I lost the shiny finish on my amber.  So for the remaining amber pieces I just rinsed them well under clean water and let them air dry.  They seem to be ok.

You may want to warn people not to use this method if the jewelry contains amber.

If you are a curious type like me, read on…….

So, because I have an enquiring mind I decided to find out why this happened.  I spent some time on google and found out about the chemical reaction that occurs. So here is the scientific explanation.

"Corrosion is the deterioration of a material, usually a metal, as a result of chemical reactions with the environment in which it is placed," Kruger explains. "Tarnish is produced when silver reacts with sulfur compounds in the air, such as the gas released when you boil eggs. Tarnish doesn't harm the metal. It's just ugly. Silver pieces are supposed to be bright, shiny and lustrous.

"To remove tarnish, Kruger triggers another chemical reaction that separates the sulfur from the silver.

1. Wrap the entire silver object in aluminum foil. Be sure the foil makes tight contact with the silver in at least one place. Make a few cuts in the foil to allow liquid to seep into the space between the silver and the foil.

2. Place the foil-wrapped object in a large glass, enameled or stainless steel pot that can be placed on the stove.

3. Fill the container with a solution of water and 4 to 5 tablespoons of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) per quart of water. Use enough water to cover the silver object. Let the mixture simmer gently for 30 minutes.

4. Remove the aluminum foil. Rinse the silver and dry it thoroughly

So I thought, maybe there is sulfur in amber, and it is also being separated by the chemical reaction. So I looked up the chemical composition of amber and found out it does contain sulfur.  So I think that might be the reason my amber felt sticky when it was in the solution.

So there you have it, Chemistry class is over!  Tee-Hee !!!!!

Have a great day.

Cornelia

(From Dunnville, Ontario, Canada)

nanabead wrote
on Aug 11, 2008 2:10 PM

I see a lot of ideas about tarnish and silver but how about copper.  I heard there was a way to prevent copper from tarnishing (or slow it down?)  

Any one know how?

RFM wrote
on Aug 12, 2008 1:14 PM

Re: Anti-Tarnish Treatment w/Aluminum

If you have used this method, you have probably noticed a find sliver plating on the aluminum.  This is silver which has been redeposited from the surface of your silver object.

If you have a large, solid silver object with no fine detailing you care about, this method is simple and easy.

If your objects are silver-plated, you lose some of the plating each time you use this cleaning method. Dark spots where the silver plating had worn through already will become bigger. Silver-plated glass beads may become plain glass beads.  Small solid silver beads may disappear entirely.

This is a VERY RISKY method to use for jewellery.

Russtty wrote
on Aug 3, 2009 11:11 AM
re: At Home Tarnish-Busting Remedies Brass, Bronze,and Copper,can be cleaned with tobasco sauce.This is a surface cleaner it will remove dirt and grime,it does not remove corrosion.This will require an abrasive cleaning.Tobsco sauce works because of the high acidic content,i.e. Vineger.Vineger is a weak acid there for it works as a surfactant,this means it removes grease and dirt.Do Not use it one any porus gems,this includes Amber .Amber is a fosilized resin,yes it's porus and very soft. The best abrasive is a Glass Brush,this is avalible from your jewelry supplier. Renisance Wax was designed for use on Armor not on jewelry. The earlier mention of a magnesium pan was likey a type made by the Club Aluminum Co. called Mag-ne-site this is an aluminium pan not magnesium, as she thought
ChristineP@2 wrote
on Aug 3, 2009 11:17 AM
Nanabead - There is basically only one thing you can do to slow down the copper tarnish, but it doesn't really work well and copper will always tarnish eventually. (It's the copper in sterling silver that tarnishes, not the silver.) All you can do is coat it. You can try clear lacquer, spray paint, car wax or nail polish. You can imagine the problems: If you coat wire before you make the piece, the coating cracks as you bend the wire, ruining your tarnish resistance. But if you coat the piece after, the crevices and details may be obscured when the coating pools. And the coating will still crack if you bend that bracelet a little tighter around your wrist. The coating chips or peels off and you end up with a piece of jewelry with some tarnished spots and some bright and the coating is hard to remove completely, so the piece will probably never really look even again. You get fingerprints and dust in the coating before it dries. In my opinion, we should just embrace the tarnish. Call it "patina" and learn to love it. If you want to polish it, here's a quick home-polish for copper (amounts are flexible): 1/4 cup of lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon of salt Swish the jewelry around in this solution. It only takes a minute. I tell my clients about this polish, and also tell them the patina makes it more interesting and let them choose. Also, for some people (me included) the patina actually slows down the "green skin" effect. My favorite method of polishing jewelry of all metals is my tumbler. I got it for $25 at Harbor Freight and it's been going strong for three years. A pound of mixed stainless steel shot, a couple of drops of blue Dawn dish liquid and enough water to cover everything. 20 minutes later, perfectly polished jewelry. -Christine
ChristineP@2 wrote
on Aug 3, 2009 11:18 AM
Nanabead - There is basically only one thing you can do to slow down the copper tarnish, but it doesn't really work well and copper will always tarnish eventually. (It's the copper in sterling silver that tarnishes, not the silver.) All you can do is coat it. You can try clear lacquer, spray paint, car wax or nail polish. You can imagine the problems: If you coat wire before you make the piece, the coating cracks as you bend the wire, ruining your tarnish resistance. But if you coat the piece after, the crevices and details may be obscured when the coating pools. And the coating will still crack if you bend that bracelet a little tighter around your wrist. The coating chips or peels off and you end up with a piece of jewelry with some tarnished spots and some bright and the coating is hard to remove completely, so the piece will probably never really look even again. You get fingerprints and dust in the coating before it dries. In my opinion, we should just embrace the tarnish. Call it "patina" and learn to love it. If you want to polish it, here's a quick home-polish for copper (amounts are flexible): 1/4 cup of lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon of salt Swish the jewelry around in this solution. It only takes a minute. I tell my clients about this polish, and also tell them the patina makes it more interesting and let them choose. Also, for some people (me included) the patina actually slows down the "green skin" effect. My favorite method of polishing jewelry of all metals is my tumbler. I got it for $25 at Harbor Freight and it's been going strong for three years. A pound of mixed stainless steel shot, a couple of drops of blue Dawn dish liquid and enough water to cover everything. 20 minutes later, perfectly polished jewelry. -Christine
AndreaM226 wrote
on Aug 3, 2009 12:30 PM
I find that retarding the tarnishing process is the best way to go. I use anti-tarnish strips from FireMountainGems Item # A23-2091TL - I cut a piece off and seal it with the silver in a ziplock bag - I keep all my inventory silver stored this way and finished pieces as well - works great. Not a home remedy but after reading all the pros and cons listed under comments I'm a little leary about trying any of them.
Sher-E wrote
on Aug 10, 2009 5:43 PM
Thank-you! This information was most helpful. Do you have any tips for Copper? Recently I have been working wire and I realized that the techniques I use to polish my copper bottom pans is a little trickier for finite wire jewelry.
Sheryl@28 wrote
on Aug 30, 2009 9:08 AM
I did not know that Labeadaloca. Thank god I read the comments before I used the cleaning method described in this article. Does anyone know how one would go about cleaning pieces with turquoise? Sheryl
zoeshipscat wrote
on Oct 2, 2009 9:28 PM
The best cleaner for copper I've found is a thin paste made with 1 TEAspoon salt, 1 TABLEspoon plain flour, and enough vinegar to make a thin paste. Spread it onto the copper, wash off immediately and dry the copper. Magic.