Ever since I started making jewelry I've been fascinated with metals in general and silver in particular. A friend of mine who checked my Chinese astrological map told me it's no wonder, as this is exactly the material I lack....
But back to our topic, of all metals, I LOVE silver the most. I LOVE hammering silver and love crocheting pure silver, but I've always been a little concerned about the fact that it tarnishes.
I didn't like to see my pretty white designs turn grey and hated to think it would happen to my clients too, and maybe they won't like it either, I know some people like it but some don't, tarnishes do give silver some depth and age it but it takes away the brightness and pureness.
Working with 14k gold filled gave me some relief, I tested it for months and learned that it is very reliable and doesn't tarnish at all.
The only slight little problem was that it isn't white...... and for white lovers yellow just wont do.
Occasionally I tried experimenting with baking soda, salt, warm water, cold water, boiling water, n o t h i n g! Tarnishes are tarnishes are tarnishes.
Yesterday while checking my inventory and going through some of my items that turned grey, I though I may tackle the problem from a new angle, start a new line of my designs in oxidized silver.
To this purpose and since I don't have formal metal smithing education, I started searching the net for information.
Rather quickly I found a forum where this topic was discussed alongside with my well familiar opposite question, how to take away the grayness and make my silver designs back white....
I read all sort of suggestions and decided it's time to experiment again, went to have lunch with the kids at home and in between preparations I DID IT !!!! and it worked !!!!
and this is what I did:
- I took a flat plastic dish
- lined it with aluminum foil
- poured in regular salt and some backing soda (never measure, don't know quantities)
- located the earring I wanted to clean on the bottom (touching the aluminum)
- poured boiling water
- let it lay there for a minute or so
- took it out and rinsed it under cold water.
- dried it.
I experimented with only one earring so I will be able to check the differences, but there was no need, it was so shiny white when I took it out that there was NO DOUBT.
I was so thrilled that I immediately tried it on other silver items that I had.
It worked faster on the knitted parts then on silver surfaces (solid rings for example), and the solid surfaces also needed some gentle wiping, but really gentle not scrubbing.
So this is it for now, I'm sorry I was so quick and did not take before and after photos, you will just have to believe me ;-)
My other experiment, the silver oxidizing is still not finished but when it is and if it is successful as this one I promise to share it too!