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Sunday, May 10, 2009

I Want My Sterling to Tarnish!

What? Why in the world would you want your silver to tarnish? Well, there actually is at least one valid reason.

Many people who own patterns with intricate designs appreciate the effect of slight tarnish buildup deep within the crevices of the design. This enhances the lines of the design and adds some visual depth. This type of tarnish actually has a name - "French gray".

A problem arises when someone adds a brand new piece to an older set. The new piece may look somewhat bland compared to the old pieces because the French gray has not had time to develop on the new piece. One solution is to let the new piece sit out in the open air for a while. We performed a test on a like-new piece of Gorham Buttercup by letting it sit on an open shelf in the kitchen area for about three months. After that time, it began to match older pieces of Buttercup with French gray. We cleaned the smooth surfaces.

Now if you are in a real hurry to develop some tarnish, you can use the boiled egg trick. Hard boil an egg, cut it into pieces and place it in a plastic bag. If you place a piece of sterling in the bag, it will tarnish dramatically in a few hours. The problem is that this tarnish will not be embedded deeply in the crevices of the design as it would have been had it developed over a long time.

If you want French gray, we recommend letting it develop naturally over time.

One word of caution - chemical dip cleaners will remove your French gray.

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1 comment:

eva said...

Yes silver marking seem to be the most confusing, and is often to know if you are purchasing a quality piece, so your helpful list is great.