There's a reality to 925 Sterling Silver, that is the constant dog fight for jewellers and silver-wearers...keeping its high luster shine. The raw nature of 925 Sterling Silver, is the 7.5% of base metals in the alloy, that will react with sulphur in the air and skin, which will tarnish your ring over time.
With this issue being inevitable, companies have brought out a litany of different, (essentially useless) polishing kits. Anything short of getting a professional jeweller to give your piece a polish, you're going to get fairly minimal results.
So here's what I'll do - I'm going to bring you up to speed with what we'd do as jewellers to give your ring a spruce up. Whether it's 10 days or 10 years old, this is how you'll bring your ring back into his early days. The fountain of youth, for alloy.
The go to advice for polishing your ring, will be with the polishing cloth that most jewellers, including us, give out with the order. This will still work reasonably well and is great for slowing any further aggressive tarnish. However, it won't rid your piece of any sustained blackened areas.
The ease at which we can give an old ring a quick polish in our studio, with a fairly basic setup, I felt the need to shed some light on this process so you can re-amp the high polish from before your grubby mitts tainted the silver. For those of you who follow these instructions, you'll notice a profoundly different result from ALL the home polishing kits. In this post, I'm going to give you a master run down, on how you can give your 925 a professional polish. I'll even provide everything you need through our online store.
This isn't an overly simplistic, fix-it kit. It will require a little bit of initial run-about. But once you've got the set up, it'll be good for years and you'll be able to give your ring a professional polish before every night out. Personally, with my full set of 925, I'll speedball my bench grinder polishing set-up, every weekend to get them all in top knick. With a Saturday arvo free, you can build your own polishing studio...
So here it is. I'll lay it out nice and simple, then dive in to explain further. You'll need:
- 1 x Bench Grinder
- 1 x Polishing Buff Wheel (Online $5.95)
- 1 x Polishing Compound (Online $7.95)
- Dishwashing Detergent
- Cloudy Ammonia
- Old gingivitis riddled toothbrush (or a fresh one)
This is won't set you back any more than $20 and will last you two years.
If a bench grinder doesn't run in your family, then you need to get that heirloom sorted. You'll have to source one - let Ozito (Bunnings home brand) suit out your polishing studio for around $30. Get a shed. Get industrial. Just be super careful not to ever call it your 'man cave'.
Stage 1. Set up...
- Remove your grinding stones from the bench grinder.
- Measure up the spindle and find a drill bit, that is slightly smaller (or the same size, this will make sense in the next step).
- Then drill into the centre of your Polishing Wheel. You have two options here; you can either drill almost all the way through and let the tread of the spindle catch the wheel OR drill all the way through and screw your wheel onto the bench grinder - as the grinding stones were set up.
Stage 2. Now its the polishing...
- You're going to apply some of your polishing compound to the wheel. It doesn't need much, just a quick touch on the wheel while its spinning (then we can re-apply a little more if need be during polishing).
- Hold your ring tightly, so she doesn't get flung across the room and take someones eye or groin out.
- Then slowly rotate and press your ring into the wheel, rolling the piece to cover all of the surface. Give it a few once-overs, apply a touch more compound and cover over her again. Don't worry about the mess on the ring, it will look like it's getting grubbier from the compound, but you'll see the end result.
In a bowl, take some hot-boiling water, with a table spoon of cloudy ammonia and dash of dishwashing liquid and drop your ring in. Let it sit for 30 seconds and then give her a good scrub with a tooth brush to remove all the polishing compound. Completely dry off the piece with your polishing cloth or just some good ol' poo tickets (toilet paper). Job, done.
Things to note:
- If you have some of the blackening detail in certain areas of the rings. For example, on The Canis ring, be careful not to polish those areas too aggressively, as it will remove the black solution. So cover up those sections with your finger, or go lightly there.
- You will get used to the pressure to apply on the ring, but you will actually be pressing quite firmly against the wheel to let the polishing compound go to work. A reasonably small amount of polishing compound will do the majority of your ring. No need to apply to much!