How do I clean this necklace?
October 8, 2012 3:49 PM   Subscribe

What is the best way to clean this necklace with intricate filigree? The stone is simulated amethyst and the setting is silver (back) and marcasite (front).

I'm afraid to dip it in silver cleaner or any other solvents because I don't know what's keeping the stone in the setting (some sort of adhesive, I imagine?). A toothbrush dipped in water isn't getting in the crevices, and I worry I'll end up rusting out the back.

The grime on it is from normal wear but it's accumulating quickly because I wear it every single day. I want to preserve this necklace as long as possible because it has tremendous sentimental value.
posted by _Mona_ to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Have you tried a silver polishing cloth? Example. They have worked well for me with delicate and intricate pieces.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:53 PM on October 8, 2012

Hmm, I'd think that NOT polishing it and letting the silver oxides build up on it's surface (the brown to blackish bits) as a protective layer would be the best way to ensure longevity.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 3:59 PM on October 8, 2012

If you let it tarnish, it'll just look black. Silver dips are bad, but a silver cloth or regular Wright's silver creme will be fine. Don't use a toothbrush or anything that might scratch, like a plastic scrubber, just a soft cloth, a bit of polish and a lot of rubbing.
posted by Ideefixe at 4:38 PM on October 8, 2012

For silver jewelry, I use a paste of baking soda and water. I rub the paste over the metal and rinse. The baking soda dissolves out of tight spots, unlike cremes. From the photos you posted, the piece doesn't look grimy and doesn't look overly tarnished. Silver that's worn a lot doesn't get very tarnished, in my experience.

If it's not tarnish that you're concerned with, and actual grime from body oils or whatever, you could just wash it with mild soap or baby shampoo and dry with a soft cloth.
posted by quince at 4:54 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

My uncle used to use a toothpaste and a soft toothbrush, but then he had gold, not so much silver. I'd recommend trying that out on something not quite as dear to you first. A soft toothbrush is a very good cleaning implement whatever the cleaning substance is.
posted by glasseyes at 5:10 PM on October 8, 2012

Best answer: The Sunshine Polishing Cloth is what the jeweler/silversmith I took lessons from used and recommended. I've been using them ever since and pass along the recommendation whenever the subject comes up.

(Suddenly having flashbacks to that horrible wadding-saturated-with-polish-wedged-into-a-tin stuff that Grandma would pull out when she got out the silver platter out for its once-a-year use at Christmas, and I as the only grandchild got the chore of cleaning it. This is nothing like that nasty stuff.)
posted by Lexica at 6:36 PM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I'm a silversmith and former antique silver dealer. Windex with ammonia and a soft toothbrush. It'll clean it without hurting the patina. Since you wear it every day, your skin oil affects patina formation. It won't look black, it'll just look old.
posted by cmoj at 7:07 PM on October 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I'll give the Windex a go since I have some on hand and pick up a cloth next time I'm at the store.
posted by _Mona_ at 7:58 AM on October 9, 2012

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