Posted in Tips & Tricks

Hacks: How To Clean Silver Jewelry

When I lived in California, I absolutely loved going to the Queen Mary. I loved the history you can feel when you’re on the ship, the elegance of years past, the unsettled feeling I got in some areas. But I can’t just say it was the ship I loved – I adored the annual I ♥ Cross Stitch festival they used to hold there, and the Queen Mary Scottish Festival, too.

With that, there were some shops in this little mini-English “town” across the parking lot that were just too cool, including the Scottish Heritage Center (which was also onboard the ship until many of the retailers were given a 30 day notice to quit in 2014). I used to browse that shop when I was there, musing about the day I’d finally be able to purchase a Clan Campbell kilt for myself. I still have yet to do that, but I did purchase a sterling silver pendant of the Clan Campbell crest – a boar’s head with the words “Ne Obliviscaris” above – “Never Forget”.

A few years ago, I put the pendant away and didn’t wear it for ages. Upon pulling it out one morning not long ago, I saw it was badly tarnished. Like covered in black yick. I didn’t want to go out and buy silver polish just for one thing, though! Looking on the Internet, I found quite a few home remedies for tarnish, so I looked in the kitchen to see what we had!

2016 03 27 necklace1

First, I took a glass Pyrex baking dish (this one was a loaf pan) and lined it with aluminum foil, the shiny side up and the dull side down. I placed my necklace inside, trying to spread the links of the chain out so they weren’t touching. See how black with tarnish this is?

2016 03 27 necklace 3

Then I boiled some water, enough to fill the Pyrex dish.

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Two tablespoons of salt and two tablespoons of baking soda. Looking back, I could have cut this in half easily for just the one necklace, but everywhere I looked I saw that two tablespoons each was called for. So that’s what I did!

2016 03 27 necklace4

First I poured the boiling water into the Pyrex dish – slowly, trying not to disturb the links. Then I shook the salt and baking soda into the water. It bubbles and fizzes a lot! It also stops bubbling and fizzing quickly, which is why you don’t see that much of the reaction in this photo. A couple of the sites warned that this reaction can make your room smell like rotten eggs, but I didn’t smell that. I left the necklace to sit in the mixture for ten minutes.

2016 03 27 necklace5

I didn’t have a polishing cloth anywhere, though in hindsight I guess I could have swiped one of Hims’ old socks. Instead, I used thick Bounty paper towels to try and clean the tarnish from the necklace. See how much gunk came off? The pendant itself still looks as though it has yick inside the crevices, and it does – but that is how it was originally, to emphasize the pattern. I cleaned the chain by pulling it through my fingers as they held cleaner parts of the paper towel.

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And voila! My Campbell crest pendant is ready for me to sport once again!

Has anyone else tried this before? Anyone have any other tips on how to clean silver jewelry? Share with us below!

Tips & Tricks




Syd is a Midwestern girl who doesn’t think the term “girl” is sexist in the least – especially after she left her 20s. She holds a huge love for history (from WWI through the end of WWII, Victorian, Regency, and Elizabethan eras), some science fiction, and likes to pass the time reading, working with photography and needlework, and writing things. Lots of things. Syd likes to dance, too, but she looks like an utter goob doing so!

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