Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cleaning, Shining, Buffing

I saw a post on Facebook this morning for homemade jewelry cleaner. I had seen similar posts on Pinterest and had even tried one that didn't work so well, so I was skeptical. However, I have several pieces of silver jewelry that are not only pretty, but sentimental to me. I bought all but one at The Mystic Jewel in Duck, NC during our family vacations to the Outer Banks. I haven't worn them in some time because they had become quite tarnished. Something about silver jewelry...If you wear it regularly, the oils from your skin keep it from tarnishing. I've gotten out of the habit of wearing any jewelry, so mine needed a good polishing. As a result, I decided to give the post on Facebook a try. It is as follows:

  • 1 cup water heated in the microwave for 1-2 minutes (I heated mine for the 2 minutes)
  • 1 piece of aluminum foil. Big enough to cover the bottom of a cereal bowl.
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1Tbsp liquid dish soap

What you do is heat the water up in your bowl. While it's heating, cut or tear a piece of aluminum foil that is the size of the bottom of your bowl. Once the water is heated, place the aluminum foil in the bowl and add the salt, baking soda, and dish soap on top of the foil. I used a plastic butter knife to give it a little stir. Then I simply placed my jewelry, a few pieces at a time to the cleanser and let it sit for five to ten minutes, giving it a little nudge with the knife every so often. I could actually see the tarnish cloud up the water as it was cleared off of my jewelry. I wish I had taken before and during pictures so you could see the difference.

The Results:

The chains cleaned up very nicely. Most of the tarnish came off of the pendants, but some shined up better than others. I took some pictures so you could see:

 This is my moonstone pendant. Of all my pendants, this one had the best results. You can see the shine and clarity of the silver.
 These are my chains. As you can tell, they are tarnish-free and pretty shiny. There are just a couple spots in the first chain that had some tarnish that wouldn't come off.
 This is my blue lace agate pendant. As you can tell, there's quite a bit of tarnish on the side. I allowed it to soak for the full ten minutes but this was as good as I could get it.
 The front view of my blue lace agate pendant. The pendant hangar (I don't know the technical term for it) came pretty clean.
 This was the most disappointing piece. This is my opal dragon fly. While the tarnish came off, I was unable to get any shine out of it. The silver is pretty dull looking.

 This is my charoite pendant. I had pretty decent results with this piece. The charoite itself cleaned up nicely.

As you can see from the side view, the silver part, while not showing much evidence of tarnish, isn't very shiny. 
 This is my peridot pendant. This piece was a Christmas gift from the Mister and didn't come from The Mystic Jewel. Anyway, it cleaned up okay. I just wish the silver was shinier.
 This is my peridot bracelet. The tarnish did not come out of the tiny detail around each stone. However, I think that it gives the bracelet a nice vintage look to it. The silver itself, on the links between each stone, still shows a bit of tarnish. The clasp, especially, looks a little rough.
This is a full, if a bit out of focus, view of my peridot bracelet.

Final Verdict:

While the homemade cleaner had some good results, they weren't as good as a commercial silver cleaner would have been. My main concern with using both the homemade cleaner and a store bought sliver cleaner on my jewelry is damaging the stones. I didn't notice any adverse effects from the homemade cleaner so I think I might make another batch and try it out again. Anyone have a better recipe for jewelry cleaner that they want to recommend?

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