To Clean or Not to Clean Silver - Poll

Taking a poll to answer a sometimes difficult question - To Clean or Not to Clean?

When buying, do you prefer old pieces have patina or do you prefer clean? As sellers, is it your experience tarnish sells or clean sells?

I clean a piece if the tarnish is not attractive or I feel the clientele wants a clean piece, taking care to not remove the accent color. It is sad to see old pieces completely stripped. Sometimes I’ll include before and after picture in a listing to help show the age of a piece including caption so it’s not confusing for the customer. Do you think cleaning brings a better price or do you think it takes value away? It’s something I ask myself many times.

These I have chosen not clean

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As a buyer, it depends on the age and design of the piece. To me, there is a difference between good, dark gray patina on a vintage piece and simple, brown tarnish on a newer piece. Typically, I don’t polish. Just handling and wearing jewelry will polish and highlight it, allowing it to settle into its natural color.

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I’m a total non-polisher for my personal jewelry. I wear my pieces often and for 90% of it, that’s all that’s needed.

Working in a charity thrift shop, most folks like things polished. I tell them I’ll polish it after they buy it, and most of them are fine with that. Some folks know and appreciate patina; I wish more did. Opinion is split among my co-volunteers: several are avid for the shine and one polishes contemporary pieces but not older ones. Fun poll!

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I’m a strict non polisher both selling and buying Native American jewelry. With other sterling jewelry I may run a quick buffing cloth on it if it looks dirty.

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I agree with lisianthus. Leave the Native pieces alone, but newer pieces may be okay to use a polishing cloth. Chemical dip type cleaners are a big no-no with me because it strips all the nice patination off.

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The peice speaks for it’s self. If it is a “must have peice” I will buy it tarnished or not.

Good hunting to you all.

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I’m looking older, and I feel my jewelry should too. In fact, I feel bright and shiny things look odd on me anymore. I think my favorite look at this time is nice patina-ed silver and dark red coral. Accordingly, I never clean anything.

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For the most part I’m right with you. Don’t want my jewelry more silver than my hair. However, with the humidity around here, I find that silver can develop a very unattractive black look. Chemical cleaners are a big no-no with me but I will use a jewelry polishing cloth occasionally.

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I prefer naturally aged petina. Always purchase unpolished.

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I have a polishing question…I was using a polishing cloth and chatting with a friend…I got a phone call and left for just a few minutes and when I came back she had dipped a contemporary NA Storyteller Cuff in silver cleaner. I wouldn’t say anything because she’s going through a rough time right now with her mom and Alzheimer’s but it removed the darker oxidation in some places…where would I send it to get that fixed?:weary:

@debroset That dark stuff is is applied with a chemical called liver of sulphur. The brand I have back home is called “SilverBlack.” If you’re feeling adventurous, you could probably do it yourself! But I’m sure Perry Null can take care of you :wink:

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OMG. The bracelets are the exact ones I purchased a dozen of at Thunderbird Supply, Gallup NM in the mid 1980’s. I still have both. The top one broke a couple years ago. The bottom one broke a week ago. I had worn both since they were purchased. Started out wearing 2 of each on my right wrist. The went down to two. Soon, I will be able to solder silver again and want to repair them.

To your question. To me it depends on the piece. When making silver/Turquoise jewelry, I “pickled” some pieces to give a patina. Others I left shiny. A lot depends on the potential customers when selling and personal preference when wearing.

My usual polish routine is basic toothpaste and a wet microfiber cloth. Then dry with another cotton flannel cloth.

I love patina myself, but know that some others do not.

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