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Silver tarnish advice please

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  • Silver tarnish advice please

    Hi all, I recently took my silver fingerprint pendant to a High St jewellers to have the ring soldered, because it kept falling off the chain. It came back to me cleaned and polished, which I didn't ask for. I was quite disappointed because the black accents that the jeweller had added to the fingerprints and the names are now gone, but I figured they would return with time. Now, a few weeks later, I've noticed really bad oxidisation on the back of the pendant, which is getting worse. I'm guessing they dipped it in a seriously strong dip, which has made it more porous now...? I gather I will need to get it professionally cleaned now but I certainly don't trust this high street jewellers to do it! What would you recommend?

    Thanks in advance! 😊

    Last edited by WelshAbbe; 28-03-2016, 02:53 PM.

  • #2
    By the look of the photos your pendants were made from precious metal clay and hand fired to finish, they would then have been hand fired, pickled and then polished, which would have lift the black parts in the fingerprint and names. You are right. It looks like the high street jewellery missed the point of the pendant and dipped it in quite noxious stuff that strips it of all character. A simple silver cloth might lift the stains off the back of it. The problem with dipped silver is that once you dip it you have to continually dip it. I hate the stuff, never use it.

    The only other option is to ask any of the people on here that make precious metal clay pieces (and I think there may be a section for this) to pickle it for you, so drop it into an acidic solution and hand polish it for you with a silver cloth of bit of glannol. But no one can promise how that is going to turn out now that it has been dipped by the jeweller but it might put in the black pieces and get rid of the residue of whatever they dipped it in at the jeweller

    If you really don't want it in the current format you could try to put it right at home. Pickle is easy to make: white vinegar, table salt, and, just to be sure, some hydrogen peroxide (quite cheap ingredients) but it stinks so get rid of it afterwards and then get a silver cloth and polish it up yourself. As I say, no one can say how it is going to turn out now it has been dipped, so you might be best to stick with it as it is and try to polish it up with a silver cloth impregnated with anti-tarnish.

    I get these pendants in all the time to have the jump ring replaced and it is a head-up to those that are handmaking to please make sure the jump rings you are using are strong enough.

    Hope that helps,


    • #3
      Wow, thank you Trish for your quick and detailed response! Really helpful. It's only just occurred to me that I could contact the lady who originally made it for me to see what she can do. She lives locally. I feel like I should approach H. Samuel's for compensation of some sort, especially if this will cost me, but I'm pretty sure I'll get no joy there!! 😀

      Thanks so much again xxx


      • #4
        I would take it back to the so called jeweller who ruined it explaining that you know what is wrong and will now have to return it to the maker for repair and you will be sending them the repair bill as you don't trust them to make good themselves.

        Mo. Bodrighy Wood.
        Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage..Lao Tzu.!/AuntieMornie


        • #5
          I totally agree, if the lady lives locally she is the best person to approach and I do think she might be in a position to give it back its character and detail. I would highlight it with the jeweller if nothing else and point out that you didn't ask for it to be cleaned, but they are likely to say that you should have highlighted it to them as soon as you collected it so you could be on a slippery surface, but no harm in brining it to their attention.


          • #6
            Sorry, also meant to say that I hope it all works out well for you and gets put back how you would like it.


            • #7
              Thanks both 😊
              I will let you know how I get on xx


              • #8
                The fault here actually lies with the original maker. Looking at the pictures, it's a badly made piece to start with - the positioning of the names/prints is poor, the finishing is very poor and it should never have been supplied with a jump ring that clearly wasn't strong enough to start with.

                Unfortunately, a lot of people making these are not set up for, or don't know how to solder, or how to polish properly, and as a result are producing less than brilliant end pieces.

                The jeweller you took it too actually did nothing wrong, they soldered a ring, and unless instructed otherwise would have polished to a high shine.

                Just as an aside, there's nothing wrong with silver dip. It's not made of 'noxious' chemicals (and is far safer than creating a home made pickle that includes peroxide, which when mixed with vinegar at the wrong concentrations can produce a strong acid), and is ideal to use for intricate pieces and particularly for chains. However, to clean a piece whilst retaining oxidised details, a simple impregnated polishing cloth is usually the best solution. Unfortunately the piece you show has a pitted and scratched surface, especially on the back (which could be from general wear and tear), and needs a bit more help. Fine silver is much softer than sterling, and does need to handled with a little more caution.

                I hope you get a good outcome.


                • #9
                  There is always a differing opinion in the jewellery world, just as with any other, but your charm is so precious and sweet and I would say it is fairly standard in terms of fingerprint jewellery and people who work with clay will tell you, the more you polish it the less defined it becomes in terms of the finger print, it just stands to reason. Actually I would say that the standard of the writing on the charm is quite good in terms of precious metal clay. After all, what you wish to achieve is a handwritten, handmade look so please continue to be happy and cherish you finger print jewellery, it is a lovely momento. I only wish it had been around before my mother left me so many years ago, I would have loved to have kept her fingerprint with me, so sweet. :-)

                  Hydrogen Peroxide is so safe it regularly gets used by people to clean their ears ;-)


                  • #10
                    Hydrogen Peroxide (at minimum OTC strength, eg 3%) is pretty safe. It's what happens when you mix it with other things that isn't.

                    For example, mixing with vinegar at the wrong concentrations can create peracetic acid, which whilst generally fairly inert, can develop explosive properties when heated (amongst other things).


                    • #11
                      So pretty safe then as no one was suggesting you heat it ;-)