I'm sure you've seen those ads on TV where you dip a piece of jewelry or a silver fork into a liquid and it comes out sparkly clean and shiny, right? Very nice. But honest to God, don't ever do that! Seriously!
Any time you polish silver you're removing a micro-amount of the precious metal itself. When dealing with sterling, you're ok. But when polishing silver plate it's only a matter of time until you polish all the way through the thin layer of silver to the base metal underneath. (We have some silver-plated serving platters here that have been polished so often that the copper metal underneath shines through.) So rule number one, polish as infrequently as you can get away with.
Second, these liquid dips not only remove more silver than regular polish, they can easily destroy the patina (the unique appearance) of the silver object. In our modern culture, old things (except for people) are considered valuable. All the tarnish down in the fine filigree work of a silver object or the handle of a sterling spoon or fork is highly desired and ostensibly (not always) adds to its value. With regular routine polishing you're safe because you cannot remove this deep tarnish or destroy the patina with a simple cream polish.
However, the dips we see on TV can remove all the desired tarnish and leave your employer's precious, prized possessions looking like something shiny and new from Walmart. And you can easily lose your job for this transgression!
With over three hundred silver ornaments, platters, vases, picture frames and objet d'arts in this house (not to mention hundreds of pieces of flatware), the first thing I did when I started working here was to get everything polished and brought up to maximum peak appearance. You can use Wright's Silver Cream, it's good. I prefer Goddard's (not that it's any better than Wright's) but simply because it's a British company and I've heard through the grapevine that Regina uses Goddard's in both Buckingham and Windsor Palaces.
So now I can maintain this peak appearance simply with old-fashioned silversmith gloves. Around here we use Goddard's "Silver Polishing Mits". With these I can walk all around the house, pick up any silver object and handle it gently with these gloves (on a regular basis) and not have to go through the long, laborious process of polishing each and every piece, month after month.
Unfortunately these gloves are very rough on the skin and nails, so you'll need to wear some thin medical-type rubber gloves before putting on the silversmith gloves. Make sense?
That's all I've got tonight. Just wanted to advise you not to ever destroy your prized possessions by dipping them in some unknown destructive chemical you see on TV. I'm not getting kickbacks for product endorsement here - just sharing what knowledge I've got. Silver care is a real challenge in both time and labor. And there's definitely ways to minimize the effort.
As always, thanks for stopping by,
I just googled the words "does polishing silver remove its value" and found your article. THANK YOU so much!!!!!!!!!! I'm a new executive housekeeper in an upscale home and was considering the dip method. You might have just saved my job! Thank you! And please keep sharing.ReplyDelete
Thank's so much for telling me that! It makes all the effort of writing seem worthwhile. Dips are quick and easy, but very destructive!ReplyDelete
Thank you for reading,