I hate tarnish, I swear it is the work of the Devil. Not only do I hate it, I hate cleaning it, I hate the smell of it, and
it makes me TOTALLY grumpy when I have to sit at a show and clean tarnish from jewelry during set up. I try
very hard to keep things sealed to prevent this, but you can't prevent putting the jewelry out in the air at shows,
and when doing "outside" fair type shows, the humidity conspires with the air and tarnish to make me annoyed.
Brings to mind Marvin the Martian from Looney Tunes saying "OOH that makes me SOO ANGRY!"
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From Beading Daily
Lately, instead of buying brand-new sterling silver clasps, findings, and beads, I've been turning to a few new sources.
First, I've been practicing my wire working skills to make my own earring findings and clasps using my favorite sterling
silver wire and beads. Second, I haunt my local thrift shops, junk shops, and antique shops. There are treasures there,
and a lot of them are sterling silver! And of course, I go back and recycle findings and clasps from older projects or
projects that I never finished (gasp!).
The only downside to using recycled or up-cycled sterling silver is that sometimes it's in less-than-perfect condition.
When I get a beautiful piece of sterling that looks like it could use a little loving, I'll clean and polish it up.
Jean Campbell wrote a wonderful blog about this very topic a couple of years ago, and here's the method that
she tried for cleaning tarnished sterling silver:
You can clearly see the difference in the before and after photos here. Jean also used a soft toothbrush to completely
remove the rest of the tarnish from the beads and findings, but it didn't take much effort.
We're not sure how the chemical reaction would affect gemstones or other beads, and I would never try it with a piece
strung on silk, cotton, or nylon thread because of the hot water. But it went perfectly for this bracelet made of sterling silver,
freshwater pearls, and crystals strung on beading wire.
One word of caution: I wouldn't use the boiling hot water method with any handmade glass beads. If the beads aren't
properly annealed, there's always a chance that the boiling hot water can cause thermal shock and your lovely
handmade beads will crack.
Some other suggestions for cleaning up and caring for you tarnished sterling silver beads and findings:
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Beading Tip for Tuesday
This is from Monday's Beading Daily Newsletter. Wonderful help with cleaning sterling silver beads and jewelry.
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