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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Professional Polishing

We receive enough questions about this topic that it deserves its own post. The typical questions are worded, "Do you professionally polish the pieces you sell?", "Do you know someone who professionally polishes silver?", or "Will you professionally polish my silver?"

I'm not sure what the term, "professional polishing", means. I assume most people mean a process that will make a piece look as close to brand new as possible. If that's the case, we do not do this. We've alluded to the following reason in other posts regarding care and cleaning.

Over time, sterling flatware pieces that are cared for properly will develop a rich patina caused by a combination of microscopic abrasions, tarnish and rubbing during hand cleaning. In addition, intricate patterns will develop darker areas, known as "French gray", within the pattern that many owners think enhances the pattern. Both the patina and the French gray are considered positive things by most sterling flatware owners. If we "professionally polish" to make a piece look like new, the patina and French gray will be lost.

Having said that, I must state that we do polish many pieces we sell. If a piece just doesn't look right, we polish enough to restore it to the best possible condition. But we don't just polish for the sake of polishing.

So, perhaps the question should be, "Why do you want the pieces to be professionally polished?" There are probably good and valid reasons but we should always ask ourselves, "Would careful personal hand-polishing, taking care to preserve the richness of the finish, be better?"

By clicking on "Comments" below, you can see posted comments and add your own questions/comments.


John said...

I think the term professional polishing is typically used to refer to polishing achieved with a buffing wheel and some type of buffing compound such as rouge vs. hand polishing.

People ask for this, I believe, because it is often nearly impossible to remove some scratches by hand, whereas a wheel and compound (while it may remove some material) does, in fact, often improve the appearance of some silver items.

Silver Jim said...

We agree with John.

Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled across this post looking for professional silver polishing in my area because I just spent about hour trying to get the tarnish off the tray from a very badly tarnished tea service. I'm really not looking forward to doing the other pieces. I'm not necessarily looking for something to restore it to it's original condition, I just want someone else to do the hard work.

Anyway, that could also be what some people mean when they ask about "professional polishing".