There are many among you who love the patina and “old” look. That is wonderful and I honor you! However I am not in your group. My reasoning is that these pieces were made to shine and I love to bring back their luster. And as long as metal has been used in jewelry, there have been ways to clean it.
|This gorgeous bracelet in Sara's shop is a perfect example of bringing out the shine!|
First, a thorough soak with mild dish soap is a good start. I’d be careful if the piece is strung with silk or thread as it may disintegrate. Also, be careful with rhinestones. Never submerge rhinestones in water because the foil backings can tarnish. However, cufflinks, earrings, brooches, rings, etc..., can safely handle a soak. Use a baby’s toothbrush to gently brush away debris and rinse in warm water. Buff with a soft cloth. I use pieces of old flannel sheets (your own or buy them used, cheaply, anywhere).
|I had this badly tarnished silver earring so I decided to try Sara's method to see if it would work.|
With flat pieces of sterling you can do the aluminum-foil-in-glass-dish-with-a-little-baking-soda-and-boiling-water-poured-over-it treatment. Place a sheet of aluminum foil in the bottom of a pan and add 1 teaspoon baking soda. Pour in 2-3 inches of boiling water and place the silver pieces in the water. Let it sit for about 15 minutes.
|I dropped the earring into the bowl and poured the boiling water over it and instantly the tarnish began to clear. Amazing!|
You may want to do the other side with a new piece of foil and baking soda and boiling water. Wash and rinse well. This works well for chains, charms, pendants etc. Messy, fun, and easier than scrubbing!
|15 minutes later my earring looked like this.|
Also, beware of rubber when handling or storing silver. Never wear rubber gloves and don’t store silver in anything containing rubber. Rubber is a deadly enemy of silver and can damage your silver treasures beyond repair!
I’ve used Sunshine cloths on metal jewelry for years. You can buy them in bulk on eBay or find it in other places such as your local jewelry store. They really are colored like sunshine and work well on all jewelry metals. I always wear a pair of old cotton gloves because it’s hard to get the oily residue off my fingers. Rub gently over the item until you get the glow you want. Buff it well with your piece of flannel sheet. When the Sunshine cloth is black, throw it out.
Finally, don’t forget to dust! Use a clean eye-makeup application brush to get into those tiny places. Blow off the dust. Wipe with your flannel when you can. It is astonishing what you’ll find when you do!