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How do I clean a tarnished silver spoon?


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#1 Thomas

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 09:46 AM

I bought this off Oxygenee in 2006. It looked lovely, only very slight tarnish. I think it is silver plated. It has become much more tarnished and a shadow of its former self, it now looks quite brown. How do I clean it without in any way causing the surface to deteriorate?




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Any help will be much appreciated.

#2 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 09:50 AM

From About.com:

As silver oxidizes it will tarnish. This layer of oxidation can be removed without polishing and scrubbing by simply dipping your silver in this non-toxic electrochemical dip. Another big advantage to using a dip is that the liquid can reach places a polishing cloth cannot.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Minutes

Here's How:

1. Line the bottom of the sink or a glass baking dish with a sheet of aluminum foil.
2. Fill the foil-lined container with steaming hot water.
3. Add salt (sodium chloride) and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to the water. Some recipes call for 2 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp salt, whereas others call for 2 tablespoons each of baking soda and salt. Personally, I wouldn't measure the amounts... just add a bit of each substance.
4. Drop the silver items into the container so that they are touching each other and resting on the foil. You will be able to watch the tarnish disappear.
5. Leave heavily tarnished items in the solution for as long as 5 minutes. Otherwise, remove the silver when it appears clean.
6. Rinse the silver with water and gently buff it dry with a soft towel.
7. Ideally, you should store your silver in a low-humidity environment. You can place a container of activated charcoal or a piece of chalk in the storage area to minimize future tarnish.

Tips:

1. Use care when polishing or dipping silver plated items. It is easy to wear away the thin layer of silver and cause more harm than good through overcleaning.
2. Minimize exposing your silver to substances which contain sulfur (e.g., mayonnaise, eggs, mustard, onions, latex, wool) as the sulfur will cause corrosion.
3. Using your silver flatware/holloware or wearing silver jewelry helps to keep it free from tarnish.

What You Need:

* Sink or glass pan
* Hot water
* Baking soda
* Salt
* Aluminum foil
* Tarnished silver

Maker of Marteau Absinthe
Master Distiller, Gnostalgic Spirits Distillery
www.absinthemarteau.com
Confessions of an Absinthiste


#3 Thomas

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 10:05 AM

Thank you kind sir! So good that the method does not involve polishing and scrubbing. That is exactly what I was afraid of doing.

#4 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 09:45 PM

... if it works.

Maker of Marteau Absinthe
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www.absinthemarteau.com
Confessions of an Absinthiste


#5 Marc

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 11:56 PM

If it's only surface brown tarnish (very usual), use the classic yellow soft cotton cloth that every jeweler/silversmith use (don't know how it's called in the US). It polishes without attacking the silver plated

#6 Thomas

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 01:52 AM

Thanks mthuilli. I will try the cloth first, if it doesn't work then I will give it the electrochemical dip treatment. I actually really fancy the dip, it sounds like a kind of magical or alchemical process. "Watch it change before your very eyes!" kind of thing.

#7 Thomas

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 08:16 AM

Well, that is remarkable. I have just used my wife's jewellery cloth on my antique spoon and it has come up so beautifully! Much better than I expected, in fact it looks better than it did when I bought it. Who would have thought a simple cloth would have such an effect!

I only wish I had taken a before and after pic.

Many thanks mthuilli!

#8 Pan Buh

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 11:28 AM

Trust a man who's a sock to know about polishing with a cloth.

#9 Marc

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 11:48 AM

That's exactly what your wife said.

Say hello to your little boys for me ;)

#10 Thomas

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 05:27 AM

A couple of pics of my newly polished spoon. Turns out it's solid silver, not plated.





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#11 Thomas

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 05:30 AM

Close up.




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Any one with silver spoons. Buy a jeweller's cloth!

#12 elfnmagik

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 05:57 AM

I tried the dip method Hiram prescribed earlier on my see-saw brouilleur. Works great, but real fast.

Like, dip it in and pull it right out, quick.
"I really like depriving myself of things. It's fun! Very monastic." - Kosmo

#13 Marc

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 06:02 AM

It's not solid silver Thomas, it's plated.

#14 OMG_Bill

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 06:10 AM

My see-saw brouilleur is tarnished and quite dark. I know on my older coins, that in the right light the tarnish is very attractive. It'd be called toning. It's still tarnish. If the thing was an antique I'd call it patina and would probably not mess with it. The thing looks good to my tired eyes next to a few older things.

By the way, that spoon looks terrific! :cheers:
Some folks may cringe each time I use the term "Booze" regarding these high quality drinks.
I mean no offense. There are bottles of extraordinary booze out there. I've tasted a few. Relax.

#15 Thomas

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 06:20 AM

It's not solid silver Thomas, it's plated.


I defer to your expertise mthuilli, though I am curious as to how you can tell so easily. I thought, with it being stamped with a little anchor, and the letters A I either side of it, that it was silver, but don't ask me why. I just didn't think they stamped silver plated stuff. The other little stamp says "BLANC"


elfnmagik Yes, I have to try that next time, just for the fun of it!

#16 Thomas

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 06:28 AM

By the way, that spoon looks terrific! :cheers:


Thanks ! I must confess, I do have a soft spot for it myself.

#17 Thomas

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 07:44 AM

My see-saw brouilleur is tarnished and quite dark. I know on my older coins, that in the right light the tarnish is very attractive. It'd be called toning. It's still tarnish. If the thing was an antique I'd call it patina and would probably not mess with it. The thing looks good to my tired eyes next to a few older things.



On reflection though. I do see your point about not buffing up everything that's old, to try and make it look new.

"Mmmm that George IV mahogany cabinet is looking a bit tired, time to get get the diesel-powered sander out!"

#18 Marc

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 08:18 AM

I defer to your expertise mthuilli, though I am curious as to how you can tell so easily. I thought, with it being stamped with a little anchor, and the letters A I either side of it, that it was silver, but don't ask me why. I just didn't think they stamped silver plated stuff. The other little stamp says "BLANC"

"Blanc" means "Metal Blanc". Metal Blanc is nickel + copper, it can be silver plated or not. And I was wrong in my statement because that one is not even silver plated. But it's a 3 stars spoon still.
The letters are AF (not AI) for Armand Frénay.

Remember only a very few percentage of the absinthe spoons were made of solid silver, they were cheap and robust, made for heavy uses in bistrots.

#19 Thomas

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 08:53 AM

Excellent information. I now know the maker, the metallic composition, and the star rating, It doesn't really bother me that it's not silver, or even silver plated. Because I know so much more about it now, I appreciate it even more!

C'mon spoon, what do you say to a lump of sugar and a drizzle of cold spring water? Then maybe a gentle stir in an pool of emerald nectar?

"Oh go on then, you've twisted my arm"

#20 Marc

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 09:28 AM

And you're right to appreciate it even more knowing a bit of its 'life'.
I always try to find out the history of some of my spoons (like here), I like to know what they've been through ;)
Btw, I wasn't mocking on the fact that your spoon is not silver plated, silver is not inevitably a sign of quality, the most beautiful and robust absinthe spoons are made of Metal Blanc or Maillechort.

Now that you've cleaned it, my only recommendation is: use it! I try to use mine regularly to prevent tarnish and to give them my own patina.

#21 Thomas

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 10:04 AM

Just been to look at your spoons.

A stunning collection. I particularly like this one!


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