As a last option to make against the tarnishing is the regular cleaning. This has to occur of course also after use. The cleaning of the objects can be done following in several ways: warm water and a pH-neutral dishwashing detergent or silver polishing gloves are the most gentle methods. It is important to note that some commercial silver cleaning agents are abrasive. This means that the silver can be partially removed or scratched.
Furthermore, it should be noted that partly, for aesthetic purposes, tarnishing (patina) in some places is even desirable, so that it is counterproductive to remove it. Gilded objects or gilded areas are protected against tarnishing, but if this “protective cover” is no longer completely preserved, the underlying silver can tarnish. In such a case, be particularly careful not to use an abrasive silver cleaning agent for cleaning, since otherwise you could remove more of the gilding.
What is the benefit of cleaning?
The regular cleaning or use of silver objects preserves the unique brilliance of the material and therefore its very special charm. The longer the silver has been exposed to sulphur, the more persistent the sulphur sulphide formation are, which can render the cleaning very difficult.
The Silver Cleaning Lady
Residence Palace Heiducksburg, Rudolfstadt (Germany)
What’s more, the cleaning of silver objects is an almost meditative occupation and the close contact to one’s own objects strengthens the enthusiasm for the silver art object.
The shine, the polish and the reflection of the silver are the essential characteristics that always fascinate man. Moreover, the art objects are not just objects of pure enjoyment, they also represent a special values as well as a cultural property, which must be secured, whether in public or private hands. Hence, it is important to maintain the condition of the silver by regular care.
Antique Silver Platte
Left: tarnished – right: cleaned
The team of the Helga Matzke – European Silver is happy to help you with any arising questions on the care of antique silver or any other question on antique silver. Thus, do not hesitate to contact us.