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Author Topic:   need advice in cleaning silver

Posts: 966
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 08-30-2002 02:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm not making this up - recently acquired a child's 3 piece teaset, Birmingham, 1902, all correctly marked, partial marks on lid. Problem is, at some point it was coated with a very thin coat of chrome, which has started to peel on certain parts revealing the silver underneath. Apparently someone got tired of polishing their silver. Any tips on how to remove it? thanks

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Posts: 414
Registered: Jun 2002

iconnumber posted 09-01-2002 12:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi there Vathek,

Are you sure it is Chrome plated and not silverplated over silver.. I happened to stop by my silversmith's shop several years ago to find him plating a fine european silver vase.
He was doing it because the customer wanted it done..Go figure.

At any rate, if it is chrome plate and there is minimum decoration on the set, then lightly buffing it is the solution.

The second way is to reverse the poles in the chrome plating solution and unplate it.. It does work with gold plating, but is ruins the plating solution. Talk to a plater whose plating solution is close to the end of
its life.

Hope this helps.

Marc Cutcher

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Scott Martin
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Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 09-01-2002 01:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As to why someone might silver plate a sterling piece...

When someone loses one of a pair of matching objects they might seek to have a new piece made. To save money they may have the new item made in silver plate. When the original sterling piece and the new silver plate piece are side by side the color of the silver will not match.

Sterling is a mix of 925 parts pure silver and 75 parts other base metals (usually copper).
Silver plate is a thin coating of pure silver on base metal.

The base metal in the sterling changes the color. The way to have both items match is to silver plate the sterling object.

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Posts: 1507
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 09-01-2002 09:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am not surprised by much when it comes to silver. I have a Swiss pewter caster from the mid 19th century that someone plated with silver. The silver actually has a great patina now, making the caster look like a fine 18th century example. The illusion is shattered when you pick it up and find out how heavy it is!


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iconnumber posted 09-04-2002 09:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My theory was that someone just got tired of polishing it. It's not a silver plate, doesn't tarnish or clean with silver polish. I'll have to see if there is a plater in this area.

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Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 09-04-2002 11:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have had to remove chrome from a candy dish once and since silver is not affected by hydrocloric acid and chome is ... I soaked it for several days... I do not recomend this though since it is possible that the hinge or other parts of the teaset might contain metals that could be disolved in the acid... Muriatic acid is a dilute form of Hydrocloric acid and will desolve lead contaminated onto silver. Just a bit of trivia for those who do not have their head filled with too much of it already...

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Vi Walker
iconnumber posted 09-07-2002 03:16 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Are you sure it is chrome? Might it be laquer? Vi Walker

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Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 09-09-2002 02:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No, it's definitely chrome - some of it is flaking off in places and I tried using masking tape to see if it would lift it, but that only removed small spots that were loose anyway.

followup to chrome plated silver
posted 09-16-2002 08:35 AM

Just in case it ever comes up for you - muriatic acid will remove the chrome plating, however, you'll need a plastic container to soak it in for several days, a very well ventilated area as the fumes are bad, and extreme caution, as muriatic acid is just diluted hydrochloric acid. I used a toothbrush to clean off the chrome as it became loose. It is also still taking a lot of polishing to get the appearance back, but it is working. Of course another thing that needs to be thought about whenever altering an item from its original state is how much trouble is this going to make in the future when someone wants to restore that item?

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