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How do I remove these black marks?

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Joined: 18 Nov 2009
Posts: 9

Posted: 19/11/2009 
Post subject: How do I remove these black marks?
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please can someone advise how I get rid of these black marks?

the ones on the ashtray are presumably from cigarette burns but not sure about the dish.






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Jeff Herman

Joined: 17 Oct 2006
Posts: 44
Location: West Warwick, RI USA

Posted: 13/12/2009 
Post subject: re: How do I remove these black marks?
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That appears to be an English sterling tray. Have you tried silver polish? If so, what did you use? If you used polish and the marks remained, it may be corrosion which would have a crusty feel to their surface. If it is indeed corrosion, there is a simple way to remove it yourself. Do this in a well-ventilated area and with nitrile gloves since you will be using ammonia. Immerse the tray in a container of ammonia and let sit for ten minutes, then remove from the container and inspect. If the black corrosion spots remain, place the tray back in and let stand for another ten minutes and inspect again. If the corrosion is not gone after 30 minutes, have the tray professionaly refinished.

If the corrosion has dissolved, you may notice a slight graying of the silver. If this occurs, use Hagerty's Silversmiths' Wash, which is more abrasive than Tarni-Shield, Twinkle, Blitz, Weiman, Goddard's, and Wright's polishes. Apply a generous amount of Hagerty's Silversmiths' Wash on a damp sponge to bring back the surface, inside and outside of the shaker. If you find you need something even more abrasive, try a small amount of Bon Ami cleanser on a wet sponge and lightly rub to renew the silver luster. Perform the Bon Ami procedure under trickling water in your sink this way the abrasive qualities of the cleanser are dissipated, leaving the silver brighter than if you were to maintain the full strength of the cleanser. As when polishing silver, always use the smallest amount of abrasive to do the job.

After the corrosion has been satisfactorily removed, use a rouge cloth to bring back the silver's luster, then use Tarni-Shield Silver Polish, Twinkle Silver Polish, Blitz Silver Care Polish, Weiman Silver Polish, Goddard's Long Shine Silver Polish, or Wright's Anti-Tarnish Silver Polish on the exterior for protection against the elements.
As a silver restoration, conservation, and preservationist, I'm happy to answer any silver-related questions you can't find answers to in my Web site's Silver Care Guide at http://www.hermansilver.com/care.htm.
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uncle vic

Joined: 25 Sep 2006
Posts: 696
Location: Baton Rouge, LA USA

Posted: 15/12/2009 
Post subject: re: How do I remove these black marks?
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Jeff - great advice from the master! Our daughter had given me a pair of American sterling candlesticks that were badly "black spotted" and asked me to try and make them presentable....I had tried several different kinds of silver polish with less than sterling (pun) results, so I put them aside for another day.

I used your ammonia trick on them today and it worked great! I had to dip both of them twice for 10 minutes each and the black spots were gone, leaving a slightly rough whitish surface where they had been. I polished that out easily with jeweler's rouge on a patch of wet fake chamois (its tan, comes in big sheets from the auto parts store, and is a dense foam, great for silver polishing), then followed with Goddard's and lots of warm soapy water as I went along.

The candlesticks now look great and are ready to display for the holidays. Thanks again, Jeff.

Uncle Vic
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