These beautiful Art Nouveau candlesticks arrived tarnished with a dark, irregular appearance because they had been lacquered to prevent tarnish. Lacquering silver is not recommend. Over time the lacquer discolors. Wear and scratches allow the sterling underneath to tarnish, but it is impossible for the customer to polish them because of the lacquer.
Removing the old lacquer will restore the appearance of the silver with the brilliance of original appearance.
Removing lacquer takes time but does not damage the silver. I remove the lacquer with patience and Q-tips so as you imagine this does cost more, but it is well worth the effort.
Sterling Silver Pistol Grip Fork and Knife
This photo is a comparison of before and after polishing.
The antique fork and knife had sterling silver handles with steel fork tines and steel blade, a very old style from the 18th or early 19th century. They arrived with the steel fork and steel knife blade very pitted and rusty. (left side of photo)
I was able to restore the appearance for the steel fork and steel knife blade with aggressive polishing. The sterling handles were very lightly polished. The finished surface on the steel fork and steel knife was not to shiny, but completely usable. (right side of photo)
To maintain the steel fork and steel knife, always hand wash and dry immediately. Never soak in water, or put in the dishwasher. For storage: To prevent the steel from rusting, apply a small amount of Burt's Bees Lip Balm and wipe off residue. Since this is eatable there is no need to clean off before using.
Polishing Family Heirloom Brass Samovar
This brass samovar was a family heirloom neglected with 100+ years of dirt and old lacquer. It arrived with a dark, dingy gray appearance and a great family story.
The samovar had a nickel plated finish on brass. I removed the old lacquer and tried hand polishing, but the nickel plating was so worn and tarnished it would not polish by hand.
I had to aggressively polish the samovar to remove all the tarnish and restore it's beautiful appearance. I kept some of the nickel plating if I could. Dents were removed from the flue. The wooded handles and knobs were restored.
The customer was very pleased. Now it is a family heirloom that they can admire as a treasure in their home. Occasional brass polishing by hand will keep this samovar looking fabulous forever.
Silverplate Espresso Set
This silverplate Espresso Set arrived very badly tarnished. When objects arrives so dark and discolored, I never know how well it will turn out. As long as the customer is happy with "character," polishing silverplate can produce remarkable results, but there are no promises..
When I take in silverplate objects, it needs to be polished very carefully to preserve the remaining plating. For the customer it is easier to maintain the shiny attractive appearance with more frequent, light polishing with a non-abrasive silver polish, rather than letting it go to dark tarnish.
Use furniture oil to help protect wood handles and knobs so they don't dry out and get brittle.