Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Junque Jewelry

I wear a lot of necklaces during the week, most of which I’ve made over the years. There’s one necklace that I didn’t make, but has a great homemade flair to it. I'm sure that's why I like it. It is a silver wire-wrapped heart, suspended diagonally on a snake chain. You can tell the artist shaped the heart over some sort of form, probably something water soluble so it could be melted out by soaking. Or possibly using something flammable like cork clay, because the silver wire has been heat treated to become inflexible. This necklace was my grandmother’s, she and I shared the same passion for hand crafted wearable art.
I wear it fairly often and as a result, it’s become quite tarnished. 

it's hard to see the tarnish on the heart, but it's there, trust me!

Now, over the years, I’ve been giving various sorts of jewelry cleaners to try, and I hate messing with them. I don’t know the chemicals they have, and they usually still take a certainly amount of buffing or scrubbing to get clean anyway. I don’t know about you, but I hate spending money on a product that claims to be a breeze to use, and you still have to put your elbow grease into it anyway.  I’d rather pay next to nothing, use a more natural product that I know the ingredients of, especially if I’m going to have to use my elbows to clean it anyway.
So, I’d heard rumors about toothpaste, but never tried it before. but I thought it might be worth a try. Being cautious, though, I decided to check the interwebs to see if there were any warnings, and there were several. Toothpastes can have an abrasive reaction to fine silver, or silver-plated items, causing them to get scratched. While this might not be a problem for some things, it's better to be safe than sorry. So I decided to take a gander at other "natural" ways to take the tarnish off of silver, and I cam across  What I found was AWESOME! A quick, easy, safe, and CHEAP way to do what I wanted.

I spot-checked the method from a couple of different sites, and I'll list them at the end for you, if you want them, oh gentle readers.

How to Make a Silver Polishing Dip
  • a disposable pie tin OR a glass baking dish with a sheet of aluminum foil
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • at least one cup of steaming hot (but not boiling) water

  1. Line the glass dish with aluminum foil (or if you are using the disposable pie tin, skip)
  2. add the hot water, baking soda, and salt. 
  3. Still until dissolved (it will worries)
  4. Drop your item(s) into the water
  5. Check after a couple of minutes. Leave in longer of there's still more tarnishing to be taken away.
  6. Remove, dry, and polish. Viola!
glass bowl & tin foil

heart pendant, getting dipped

all bright & shiny!

**Please be aware that this method of cleaning may not be appropriate for jewelry with precious or semi-precious stones in it. **


Making a Silver Polishing Dip from

Rena's Klingenberg's How to Clean Tarnished Silver Jewelry


  1. love, love, LOVE this option. It reminds me of that magic cleaner from years ago as seen on TV. With the magic ingredients and the special metal plate. BTW, love that heart!

  2. I wonder how this works on brass.... :)

  3. OMG!! My silver is super shiny and bright now!
    This is waaaay betterz than buying that smelly stuff!!