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  Removing pits from sterling silver jewelry

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Author Topic:   Removing pits from sterling silver jewelry
smward

Posts: 6
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 08-10-2004 04:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for smward     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello all,

I have been searching the Net in vain for information about removing pits from sterling silver jewelry. I have a few sterling silver pieces from the 1970s both of which show some pitting on the underside, (both pieces are collar necklaces). I have tried polishing the necklaces with a polishing cloth, but while the cloth is great for removing tarnish, it doesn't do much to remedy the pitting situation. Is there a good silver cleaning/finishing product out there which would take care of this problem or do the necklaces need to be refinished/resurfaced by a professional?

Thanks in advance for any and all advice and best wishes from Sue

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FredZ

Posts: 1046
Registered: Jun 99

posted 08-10-2004 07:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Unless the pitting is attrocious, I would leave it alone. The pitting may have occured during the making of the collars. I would not alter them. If they are soldered they will be softened.

These are not new items and wear and corrosion must be expected due to use.

Hope this helps

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zelda

Posts: 21
Registered: Mar 2004

posted 08-10-2004 07:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for zelda     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Sue,

As an amateur and as far as I know (from polishing many pieces of silver jewelry), there isn't any cloth, cream, liquid, etc. polish that will remove pitting. When I'm absolutely sure the piece is solid sterling, and it's for my personal use, I use a Dremel or other brand of similar tool with a soft buff wheel attached and apply a small amount of sterling silver finishing polish (you can check on-line jeweler supply houses for a variety of sterling polishes & buffing wheels). If the finishing polish alone doesn't do it, then I use an abrasive (also available from supply houses), wash well, dry, and follow with the finisher for a high polish. Depending on the degree of pitting, you may have to 'fan out' the polished area. CAUTION - every time you use a buffing wheel and abrasives you remove a tiny bit of silver - that's why some items that are overly polished lose their crispness of design.

If you're thinking about trying this yourself and are not too familiar with using a dremel type tool, start slow and practice on a piece of scrap sterling, using the abrasive first, washing very well, drying, then using the finishing polish - CAUTION AGAIN - YOU CAN CAUSE 'DENTS' in the soft silver if you use too much pressure, or polish for too long.

Once you get the hang of using the dremel and various polishes, you'll be looking for things to clean and polish! If you have the time, try it yourself on scrap first - if not, a professional jeweler is the way to go.

Rea

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smward

Posts: 6
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 08-10-2004 11:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for smward     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Fred and zelda,

Thanks muchly for the info.. I am unfortunately not a jeweler so I will probably leave the pits alone, unless they get worse, in which case I may have the collars refinished or possibly look into doing something myself. I bought these collars at auction in southern California near the beach, maybe the salt air wasn't too great for the silver.

At any rate, I do appreciate your time and answers.

Best wishes from Sue

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zelda

Posts: 21
Registered: Mar 2004

posted 08-10-2004 11:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for zelda     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Your welcome, Sue. Yes, salt and bleach (among others) 'are the pits' for silver!

Back on 8/1/04 (general forum) someone asked about cleaning silver - take a look for some other suggestions & 'pit falls.'

Rea

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1694
Registered: Apr 2000

posted 08-11-2004 12:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with Fred. Since the pitting is on the underside, it isn't visible when wearing the jewelry. You will not be able to remove it with simple polishes. If you are worried about the pitting continuing, you might want to have some kind of lacquer product, perhaps even a layer of clear nail polish, placed on the underside. This will keep harmful chemicals from the skin off the silver. Also this process is reversible, unlike buffing.

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smward

Posts: 6
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 08-11-2004 04:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for smward     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Paul,

Thanks for the tip, will put a layer of clear nail polish on the undersides before I wear the collars. Since I bought them to wear and not display, a little wear doesn't really bother me. Will definitely keep them away from salt and salt air in future.

Thanks to everyone for all your help and best wishes from Sue

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1694
Registered: Apr 2000

posted 08-12-2004 01:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sue, you are welcome. I hope you enjoy wearing your vintage silver jewelry. If you decide to remove the nailpolish for whatever reason, just use regular acetone (nail polish remover) on a cottonball. Sometimes lacquers or layers over silver can make the silver's finish seem different, since it has stopped air etc. from contacting the silver. This is not damage. If it happens, you only need to use a tiny amount of Simichrome polish on a soft cloth to restore the finish. Simichrome is available at most hardware stores.

[This message has been edited by Paul Lemieux (edited 08-12-2004).]

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