TAKING GOOD CARE OF YOUR PRECIOUS THINGS…

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Here’s the thing…

A few years ago, I was bought a beautiful necklace by my husband, consisting of two silver wire semi-circles with a triple section pendant hanging in the middle – the pendant was three shades of amber – dark toffee colour, olive green and golden honey at the bottom, all mounted and hinged together in silver – gorgeous !! I loved it and wore it many times with several outfits. Then came the day inevitably when the silver surround looked a teensy bit on the tarnished side, so I decided to clean it in the time-honoured way of throwing it in the trusty Silver Dip…

Disaster !!

It emerged from its chemical bath in a right old state – the beautiful honey amber was cloudy, and looked like it had several years worth of lime-scale encrusted on it, and the dark green mid-section section looked a mere shadow of its former self. The only bit that was anywhere near OK was the darker toffee-coloured top section which didn’t seem to suffer any damage at all. I was a bit miffed to say the least. Silver is seemingly always used to mount amber in, and quite right too, as it complements it beautifully – so what’s a girl to do ?

A few years later, I acquired several other amber pieces, including another pendant from the market in Krakow, Poland  – this one was in two rectangular sections, the bottom one being slightly bigger than the top – amazingly, because I am clearly stupid – I made the same mistake again !! I’d forgotten about the first disaster, mainly because my original pendant was left in the back of my big jewellery box waiting for some miraculous cure, and had thus been dropped from my memory.

Other bits and bobs had also suffered a similar fate when being cleaned – I also had a pair of Indian silver earrings set with tiny, round, rich blue Lapis Lazuli stones, and I had also acquired a pendant with a larger Lapis Lazuli stone in the middle – both pieces of jewellery were now a pale imitation of their former selves – imagine a favourite pair of dark denim jeans after several hundred washes, all faded down to that pale denim colour – well that’s pretty much what these pieces looked like !!

A couple of days ago, I happened across an article on the Internet which suggested that, of all things, toothpaste might be a good thing to try – here’s what happened :-

AMBER

 

IMG_3581 (427x640)       IMG_3584 (427x640)

Here are my two pendants in all their damaged glory – as you can clearly see, the amber is rough-looking with a dull, cloudy patina, and not at all like what it should be !! After a couple of dips in the Silver Dip, this is what happens to porous gemstones like amber – this also applies to Lapis Lazuli, Opals, Coral, Onyx, and possibly some types of Turquoise. They’re all soft and slightly porous gemstones, and very susceptible to damage from chemicals and abrasive cleaners.

So I had a clean and very soft cloth and squirted out a small pea-sized amount of toothpaste and tried it on the smaller pendant first – not a bad result at all. Then I tried it out on the bigger pendant, thinking in for a penny, in for a pound !! Here’s what they looked like after treatment with the toothpaste, and following other care advice, the addition of a tiny amount of olive oil, rubbed in all over and then buffed up with a clean dry cloth…

IMG_3592 (427x640)        IMG_3594 (427x640)

As you can see, the result is spectacular !! I am so pleased with this – but most importantly, it turns out that while the toothpaste might be a great way to restore amber and other stones like this, you should only try this method on stones that are already damaged, in order to restore their original lustrous finish. For general care, it turns out that actually, the olive oil is the key ingredient here !!

As amber is so porous, the olive oil soaks down into the stone and acts as a bit of a barrier to the drying effect of being soaked in water and/or other chemicals. Generally, it isn’t a great idea anyway, to use any chemicals when wearing amber, or any other soft gems for that matter.

As for the Lapis Lazuli, the result was equally fantastic – here you can judge the results for yourself:-

Before – the stones are the colour of pale washed-out denim:-

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Here is the direct comparison – the first photo has one earring treated and the other not, and as you can see the difference is undeniable: –

 

IMG_3587 (427x640)         IMG_3589 (427x640)

 

I love the fact that there is a good solution to this problem – I reckon there are quite a few people out there who have done the same thing as me because they were unaware of the dangers of damaging these stones with silver cleaning chemicals. The best thing is to use a silver-polish impregnated cloth which means you can clean the silver edges and mounts without ruining the amber or other stones that are susceptible.

Please leave a comment if you found this to be useful, as I intend to write little blogs like this from time to time, as and when I discover things that I think are worth passing on !! Therefore any feedback is extremely valuable.

18 thoughts on “CLEANING AMBER /SILVER JEWELLERY !!

  1. It is a great piece of information, i really like it.It is the best gift item for a woman.She should look surprised and happy because she will have old time known and precious gift ever.

    1. I agree that amber makes a great gift – it’s a truly beautiful semi-precious gemstone, so I’m glad I found some good advice on how to restore when it’s damaged !!
      I’m glad you enjoyed this piece…

  2. Thanks for the advice! I just purchased a ultrasonic jewelry cleaning machine that came with a chemical for cleaning. It had a warning about porous stones. I was worried that my amber may be a porous stone, so I googled and your article came up. It was great advice with great before and after pictures! My Mom always used toothpaste for polishing silver and her jewelry.. Funny, I thought I was hip to purchase this cleaning device, in the long run, you should always listen to your Mom! LOL

    1. Hi Dawn,
      Thank you for your kind comments on my article !! I’m very happy that my whitterings are of some help, but your cleaning machine sounds amazing, and probably great for your really good stuff – gold, and hard stones like emeralds, rubies and diamonds. It will also be good for things like carnelian, chalcedony, and agates etc, etc.
      The soft stones are difficult to keep nice and very easy to damage, so great care is needed !!

  3. Hooray and thanks! I’ll give this a try on a teardrop amber pendant that turned cloudy. It contains a mosquito and I really loved it.

  4. I have been searching for this advice since dipping
    My Amber silver pendant. I tried it, have photos of before and after. You have saved my favourite pendant. Thank you.

    1. Hi Elizabeth,
      Thank you for your comments – amber is one of my favourite stones, and it horrified me when I mismanaged it so badly !! The most important thing for amber is the oil on a regular basis !!

  5. I bought an amber and gold bracelet, a couple of years ago. All of the amber was cloudy, but it was a lovely design, so, I hoped that I might be able to find a solution. Until now, I haven’t, but am about to try the olive oil. I also made the mistake of putting a lapis pendant, in silver dip. It faded badly. I hope the oil will work on this too. The instructions do say not to use on coral or pearls, but obviously, there are other stones at risk. Thank you for this tip.

  6. Hi Susan,
    Thank you for your comment in here – this article is an oldie but a bit of a goodie, judging by comments left !! The olive oil is definitely the key to keeping these beautiful stones in tip-top condition, but the use if a silver cloth rather than silver dip is also a great idea – at least you can control where the damaging silver cleaner goes with one of those.
    I’m so glad this article was useful to you !!

  7. Yes…it’s 2017 and I there are peeps still reading your posts! Thank you so much! I am about to rejuvenate my lapi'(?) I have several stacked up! Will send pics if I can! Thx again for the info!

  8. I just soaked my amber earrings in alcohol overnight, to avoid a lobe infection, and they came out dull and cloudy! I googled what to do, found your article with photos and your advice has been most helpful! Glad to know my beautiful earrings can be restored!

    1. Hi Gigi,
      I am so glad this arrticle has been useful – I know how awful it feels to apparently ruin a beautiful piece of amber jewellery. The same goes for Lapis Lazuli and various other semi-precious agates etc. The olive oil treatment is best used as a regular conditioner, and the silver polish is best confined to a polishing cloth !!
      Wendy

  9. I did the same thing with my amber set in silver and thought it was damaged beyond repair. Instead of toothpaste I used a bit of Wenol metal polish. Restored the amber to its smooth shiney, even better than original condition! Thanks!

  10. I have a beautiful set of red amber ear rings set in silver and over time the amber has become very cloudy. A search on the internet provided me with your findings of toothpaste and olive oil and I am so glad to recommend this remedy to others. My ear rings again look beautiful and I dread to think what I might have tried if I hadn’t come across your suggestion.

    1. Hi Ann,
      Yes – the toothpaste thing probably isn’t to be recommended unless the amber is truly in a bad way !! Toothpaste is a tiny bit abrasive, so it cuts through things like limescale and the plaque on your teeth etc, so it’s great if your amber looks all scaly like mine did. The olive oil is far gentler and to be recommended as a regular conditioner for this beautiful but porous stone. It’s the silver cleaner that is the killer !!
      I’m so glad this article has been a bit of a help.
      Wendy

  11. Thank you so much for this information! I have a beautiful antique red amber pendant that broke, so I took it to one of those fast fix places at the mall to be soldered. It ruined the finish (just like what the chemicals did to yours). I was heartbroken. But I read your post, used toothpaste and a soft toothbrush, then soaked it in olive oil overnight. Now it’s beautiful again!!

    1. Hi Brenda,
      So sorry for the late reply – I missed your comment !!
      I’m so glad though, that this article has been useful and now your prettyy pendant is once again, that rich colour iot should be. Amber is particularly susceptible to being ruined and the olive oil treatment is definitely to be recommended as a regular conditioner. Amber is formed from the sap of trees and therefore it is to be though of as a living substance, rather like your nails or hair.

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