We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I would not hesitate to clean the mouthpiece of a musical instrument with this method, but as a former professional silversmith I have grave reservations about the baking soda/foil approach. While championed as "green" and "safe" it still removes substrate as any tarnish removal process will. The baking soda cleaning gives you an indiscriminate cleaning, and the much appreciated oxidation in repousee, applique or engraving that remains with paste polish will be lost. If you have modern, department store flatware, and the highest and best value is basically scrap (which is a lot now), shine it however you like. If you must polish vintage or rare silver, use something like Weiman's (formerly Gorham) polish with a very light touch. Never, and I mean never, polish old Navajo or Zuni jewelry.
Oh, you are just the person I need. My family inherited some Navaho jewelry with turquoise insets my grandfather was given in the 1920 - 30s. I have washed them in Ivory soap with a soft tooth brush to remove the oils, but hesitate to do much more. Any suggestions? TY!
You are doing the right thing. Navajo jewelry of that era is often called "dead pawn" or "old pawn" because the Navajo used it as a means to get cash. If your pieces have maker hallmarks, even better. We have a nearly black from tarnish Sioux squash blossom necklace found by by an ancestor who was an army surgeon in the Indian Wars. Luckily it lay forgotten in a trunk for a century and the patina remained intact.
What luck I found you. One piece is a squash blossom with the name on the back. Several rings and wrist cuffs are very old, so the inscriptions are hard to read. Do I wrap it the pieces in "silver cloth" such as the liners for silverware, or...? We wear them, not daily, but often. I want them to stay in good condition.
Truly, thank you. It's difficult to find someone familiar with pawn pieces.
Well thank you for your kind words. By all means wear everything that seems sturdy and sound. There should be no problem in wrapping your pieces in silver cloth. It sounds like you have a very good necklace indeed.
I would contact a dealer specialist and get some names. Otherwise I suggest not re-stringing the necklace as the chain might be integral to the value. The fact that your necklace is so heavy is very good!