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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cleaning Jewelry

Silver, even fine silver, will eventually tarnish.  The tarnish that forms on silver pieces is silver sulfide, which is black. A thin coating of silver sulfide on silver will darken the silver surface. Cleaning the silver using most cleaning methods removes the silver sulfide coating, but polishing and most jewelry cleaners also remove some silver during the cleaning process. Here’s an approach to cleaning that does not remove any silver, but converts the tarnish back to silver.

The chemical reaction between the silver sulfide and the aluminum only occurs when the two are in contact while in the baking soda solution, so the silver has to touch the aluminum foil. The silver sulfide is converted back to silver and the sulfur is deposited on the aluminum either as yellow flecks of sulfur or as aluminum sulfide. Warming the water speeds up the reaction and the solution carries the sulfur from the silver to the aluminum. Tarnish will begin to disappear within a few minutes. You may need to repeat the process for badly tarnished pieces, reheating the baking soda and water mixture.

You will need a container lined with aluminum foil. The container should be large enough to totally immerse the silver you want to clean. Heat the water and mix in the baking soda at the rate of a cup of baking soda to a gallon of water (adjust the amount of water to the size of your container and silver piece, then add the correct amount of baking soda for the amount of water used). Place the jewelry directly on top of the aluminum foil and add the water and baking soda solution. Some bubbling may occur during this reaction, so you might want to place your container in a larger pan or somewhere where some overflow won’t matter.

Caution is needed when cleaning jewelry set with stones. Some stones are porous and should not be immersed in water or any cleaner. Examples are opals, turquoise, malachite, lapis, or pearls.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

New BookFind!

Something different today for everyone who has aches and pains from hours spent making jewelry:   A friend recently put me on to a book that is absolutely wonderful.  The title is "Listen to Your Pain"and the author is Ben E. Benjamin. 

The book opens with a discussion of pain and how to evaluate an injury.  In the second part of the book there's a lengthy section on finding your injury (don't laugh, pain is often referred to other areas than the actual injury site), followed by information on rehabilitation.  The book is filled with detailed sketches and diagrams of analyzing injury and then treating it.  This book is available in paperback from Amazon and it's an amazing resource.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cleaning and Storing Your Jewelry

Your jewelry needs to be clean to look its best. Jade, turquoise, malachite, tourmaline, pearls, opals, and lapis are among softer and more porous stones that should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner or soaked in jewelry cleaner solutions – just wipe off with damp soft cloth and air dry. In fact, it’s not a good idea to soak your jewelry regardless of the metal or stones involved. Stones such as the ones listed above require extra careful treatment. You should avoid using hot water on these stones, too. If more cleaning is required try wiping off with soapy water on a soft cloth. Dry thoroughly.

Avoid exposure to household cleaners and chemicals that can damage your jewelry. Remove your jewelry before dealing with chemicals. Pearls and other porous stones can obviously be damaged by the chemicals, but even karat gold can be discolored by chemical exposure (chlorine, for example), even something like a soak in a hot tub. Use rubbing alcohol to remove grease from karat gold. Remove earrings when you have your hair done, especially if you are having it colored.

Apply all of your cosmetics, make-up, hair spray, and perfume before putting on your jewelry. Remove bracelets and rings before applying hand lotions and creams. Remember that you should remove your jewelry before working in the garden or engaging in other physical labor, exercising, swimming, bathing, etc.

Don’t just toss your jewelry into a jewelry box or drawer - your pieces will scratch each other. Jewelry often comes in a protective bag or box and you should store your jewelry in these boxes and bags or flat in a plastic bag in a clean dark dry place. Store pearls in soft bags away from other jewelry which might scratch the pearl’s surface. Store your silver jewelry in tarnish resistant bags.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Camera Equipment - At Last!

At long last - the wait is nearly over.  The final piece of camera equipment we need should be here Monday.   I have several new jewelry designs lined up to be photographed a.s.a.p!

One of my new designs for the year is this necklace, which I've already photographed.  As soon I  can get the photos done I'll have matching earrings to show with it.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Photos on Copper Wire Jewelry

I've just uploaded some photos to my CopperWireJewelrymagazine site.   Just click on the link:

You can see larger shots of these pieces on my website  -

I'm waiting for a new piece of photo equipment which should be here on Monday, then I'll get photos of new rings and other pieces on the website.