Rare Sterling Silver Care

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Frequently asked Questions about Silver Care

Cleaning or polishing your silver is a matter of choice, it's more or less like asking your Grandfather "Which is better — a Windows PC or a MAC?" That choice is yours, however consider resale value down the road and what the industry standards are for that piece in the second hand market. Owning silver these days is costly and really comes down to the aesthetic appeal to you and the feedback that you receive from close friends or relatives for your own enjoyment and appriciation for your investment and care of your collection. Maintaining a collection to your own specifications is nothing more than a choice that is yours so give it some thought before you do anything.
When cleaning silver you first want to ask yourself "how clean do I want it?" For daily use Flatware (Silverware) for a light overall cleaning then we use Hagerty Silver Wash and a Sponge in hot water. For those elite items which are not used daily, we recomend liquid dish soap in a large sink so that you do not damage the piece on the sink itself. If your flatware or holloware piece is really tarnished to a darker color and the bath is just not getting the piece clean enough for you, then you can use Silver Polish Gloves which are also good for light maintenance. Try to avoid overpolishing for the industry standards otherwise down the road when you go to sell the item "you own it", antique silver dealers and other serious collectors may walk away from the item if overly cleaned or done incorrectly.
Hagerty is voted #1. That is what we use for light cleaning and monthly maintenance. They have a large selection of products available. Try sticking with one product so that you will not have to worry about future unknown chemical reactions. Hagerty Silver Wash with a Sponge for light and medium cleaning, Horsehair Brush with just a little Spray Polish on the bristles for rough textured pieces while using a very light brush method (like brushing salt off of a cracker) so that you do not remove the patina. I "DO NOT" recommend Spray Polish by method of spraying the piece and wiping it off, as it will remove all of the patina in varying degrees as it sits longer on different sections of the item. This will cause you to respray and possibly end up over polishing the item ("you own it").
Polish your silver when you decide that it is just not giving you the joy of ownership in its current condition, it's that simple. Think of it as dusting your furniture or cleaning those mirrors. Silver is just another piece of your decorative household items and requires the same attention. Respect your collection and it will give you the enjoyment back 10x.
Flatware Storage Chests for silverware/flatware pieces is the best way to keep the air particles out which cause tarnish. Washing with a non acidic soap and drying with a soft cloth before returning your flatware to a storage chest will help keep the luster and also allow you to open and close the box for viewing enjoyment. A bundle of forks in tarnish cloth Rolls will not give you that instant satisfaction and are normally forgotten about in a drawer leading to unused items and a lack of enjoyment or collector inspiration. Spend the $100-$200 on an enjoyable Flatware Storage Chest.
YES! Have a cleaning plan before you even decide to pick up the item. Watch how you are holding the item and don't break or over clean the item.
If you over clean a museum piece then Yes!, If your piece is for your own every day usage and your own enjoyment, No! If you do not know, then ask a silver specialist with many years of experience in restoration of antique sterling silver.
Experts will tell you yes, amateur will say no. The truth is that if you have a valuable piece then have an experienced sterling silver restoration expert with many years of antique experience clean it correctly.
Yes! In some cases, there are experts in the industry who can take a smashed teapot and make it look like it came from the factory in almost flawless condition. Silver black is used in some cases to create false patina and is mostly used on newer "antique looking" silver pieces. It will not create nor compare to 100 years of natural patina.
After all no one knows what the trend will be 100 years from now — clean or not to clean? So just enjoy your collection for yourself. "Care about today!" It's your money, your investment, your enjoyment — and "You Own It".


A few RareSterling.com Hollowware Collection

Strawberry Bowl
sterling silver, hollowware collection, antique

reed and barton, sterling silver

Hampton Court Demitasse
hampton court, demitasse, set of four