So as to maintain the beauty of your hand-crafted sculptural pieces by ute decker, ute decker would like to offer the following care suggestions.
No matter what its composition, a precious jewel is delicate and should be treated with the greatest care. A few simple actions and precautions will help you maintain the beauty and radiance of your jewellery and silverware.
Silver tarnishes, especially when exposed to pollutants in the air and to humidity. Silver that is regularly worn typically needs less care.
When not worn, proper storage is key to minimize tarnishing.
For greatest pleasure, when not worn do find a place to display the silver or gold object so that you will be able to enjoy the beauty of the pieces.
Most silver pieces by ute decker will often like a small amount of the warm yellow – brownish tarnish that develops over time thus enhancing the piece’s individual character.
When not worn or displayed, each piece should be put away separately, so that the metals do not rub against or scratch each other. See storage below.
You may wish to have your silver pieces professionally cleaned approximately once a year. Please contact ute decker if you wish to enquire about this services.
The human hand contains natural oils, greases and salty moisture. Therefore finger prints left on silver will leave marks that can be difficult to remove. Many pieces by ute decker have a beautiful matt sand-texture finish or a frosted fine-silver coating. These finishes may easily show up finger marks. Thus such pieces are best handled by touching them at the sides.
If you occasionally wash your pieces in warm water with a phosphate-free detergent, carefully rinse and then thoroughly dry them with a soft cotton cloth, that may be all that is needed.
Organic Silver Polish
Aluminium Foil and Soda
For stronger tarnishes we advise the use of this non-toxic, simple and efficient method. It could not be simpler and has been used effectively for centuries to polish silver in the grandest of mansions. No rubbing or scrubbing is involved.
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- boiling water
- glass or ceramic container
- aluminium foil
The silver object is placed in a large glass or ceramic container lined with aluminium foil. For the electro-chemical reaction to occur the silver must touch the aluminium. The baking soda and salt is sprinkled over the object. Boiling water is then poured until the entire piece is covered. You may immerse several pieces at once taking care they do not rub and scratch each other. Depending on the amount of water, additional baking soda & salt may be required.
Results should be visible within minutes.
Not advisable for any jewellery that has been intentionally blackened as this will remove all the blackness. Equally not suitable with heat-sensitive or porous stones.
Finish by washing the silver objects in warm water with phosphate-free detergent, rinse well, then dry thoroughly with a soft cloth and if necessary a hair dryer.
As with all cleaning products the pieces should not be left in contact with the solution longer than necessary to remove the tarnishing and when using gloves, do use latex and avoid rubber gloves.
Importance of Drying Silver
Thorough drying after cleaning is essential as humidity is one of the main causes of tarnish. It may be helpful to warm the item after cleaning to ensure thorough drying; a hairdryer is useful for this.
Silver pieces must also be thoroughly dry before storage after having been worn. Leaving a piece out in a dry area for 30 minutes may suffice.
The boiling or freezing method
Never use any tools to scrape the wax off.
Remove candle wax by pouring very hot water over the wax-covered areas. The wax will dissolve. Please do this over a bowl as the cooling wax would otherwise block your drains.
Candles made from beeswax are best to use as this is easily dissolved away.
Alternatively, put your candlestick in the freezer for 20 - 30 minutes. Then use your fingernail, not a knife, to chip off the wax.
If you use silver serving dishes, wash and dry them thoroughly afterward to remove all possible damaging food residue, especially salt and mustard are very corrosive on silver.
Storing Silver & Gold
Proper storage is key to minimizing damage through scratches and tarnishing.
When not worn or displayed, each piece should be put away separately, so that the metals do not rub against and scratch each other.
Anti-tarnish cloth bags may be used for this. However ute decker recommends the method used by professional jewellers.
To minimize tarnish and scratching, place individual pieces of silver inside polyethylene plastic zip bags. The airtight zip seal keeps out harmful pollutants from the air as well as humidity.
You may also wish to first wrap your piece in acid free tissue for extra protection.
With proper care your jewellery and silverware will stay as beautiful and precious as the day you first wore it and will become a precious heirloom that can be enjoyed by generations.
ute decker wishes you many years of enjoyment
- The Goldsmiths’ Company – Technical Journal - A Review of the Care of Contemporary Silver Finishes