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Author Topic:   How to do it?

Posts: 282
Registered: Jul 2005

iconnumber posted 08-03-2005 08:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for venus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have some vintage Taxco silver jewelry...

The problem lies in making out the maker mark.

Some of them are so faint or poorly struck making it hard to figure them out. My loop or magnifier don't do it either.

Any ideas on how you "see" what is there?

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Posts: 27
Registered: Jun 2004

iconnumber posted 08-03-2005 09:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for trapper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I get my handy dandy list of mexican makers and start eliminating possibilities. I have many items which I identfied this way. It can be tedious but fun.

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Posts: 282
Registered: Jul 2005

iconnumber posted 08-03-2005 12:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for venus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good idea. I have the list...Thanks for the advice researching things for me is half the fun of collecting

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Tad Hale

Posts: 120
Registered: Jul 2005

iconnumber posted 08-03-2005 11:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tad Hale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

I used to be a coin dealer and there was a solution called Nic-A-Silver that you would apply to Standing Liberty Quarters.

These quarters were made between 1916-1930 and the ones prior to 1925 the dates wore off easier than the ones from 1925-1930. You could put a drop of this solution on the date and it would bring it back.

I have been unable to find out what was in this solution, as I wanted to bring back the marks of various silver makers. This company still makes a solution called Nic-A-Date, which you can put on Buffalo Nickels. These nickels were like the quarters and the dates were usually gone. You could apply this solution and bring back the date. What happens, is the marks or indentation of the marks are still there, but the metal has worn or smoothed over the date and covered them up.

I have yet to see these solutions fail. The Buffalo Nickels are made out of nickel and the Nic-A-Date solution doesn't work on silver. Someone, once told me the reason they got rid of the Nic-A-Silver was for some kind of chemical reasons but we sold that stuff in our shop for years. If you can find this solution, you will be able to find out who the maker was.

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Posts: 282
Registered: Jul 2005

iconnumber posted 08-04-2005 10:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for venus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
yes, I was thinking that maybe there was some product like that, or a transfer rubbing technique that people used. thanks for the information and if I find that stuff I will let you know.

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Posts: 1627
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 08-04-2005 10:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would think twice before applying any kind of chemicals to silver, especially if it might be something more than common, low value tourist trinkets.

First try non-chemical approaches. Here are a couple of ideas to start with:

  1. Oblique lighting - in a dark room shine a single light across the surface from the side. This can bring out shallow shadows and make a mark easier to see sometimes.

  2. Light rubbing - put a piece of thin paper over the mark and rub gently with a pencil. This can also bring out shallow markings.

  3. Pressure sensitive paper - Take a bit of that paper used in some credit card machines - the kind where your credit card is put in the machine and a paper is on top and a roller is run over it resulting in the numbers "magically" appearing in purple color on the paper (not the ones with carbon tissues - I mean the ones that work by being pressure sensitive). Use the tip of something smooth and hard (something like the end of a cap to a bic pen) to do a gentle rubbing to bring out the image of the marks.

  4. Try an ultraviolet light. You can buy these now for very little money and they can reveal all kinds of things you do not see in regular light.

  5. Take a tiny bit of flour and rub it over the mark then take a clean cloth and very, very gently wipe it off but don't wipe so hard to wipe off the flour that is in the low spots.

  6. Let it tarnish over time, then very lightly polish it so that the polishing only touches the highest points of the metal. This can bring out faint marks as well.

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Posts: 282
Registered: Jul 2005

iconnumber posted 08-04-2005 01:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for venus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lots of good information and how to do its, thanks so much. I really like the older silver. my son-in-law goes to taxco and buys silver there, I told him to forget the new stuff and look for pawn shops and buy the older.

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Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 08-04-2005 04:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You can also try breathing slowly on the surface as you would to moisten an eyeglass lens for cleaning. As the film of moisture evaporates, it will often briefly reveal details not otherwise visible. This is the quickest and easiest way - try it first before resorting to more time-consuming methods.

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Posts: 282
Registered: Jul 2005

iconnumber posted 08-04-2005 05:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for venus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sometimes simple ends up best.

I am gonna go home and try some of these.

I really like this site and am learning, slowly.

Thanks for all the help to you and the others

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Posts: 326
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 08-23-2005 01:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for IJP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Certainly not a practicable solution, but for Academia's sake, worth mentioning:

The most recent Silver Magazine has an intriguing and informative article about acoustic imaging for the reconstruction of worn-away hallmarks, whereby sound waves are used to detect minute variations in the surface of the silver, and the "echo" interpreted by a computer to compose a digital postulation of its original appearance.

Pretty heavy stuff!

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Posts: 282
Registered: Jul 2005

iconnumber posted 08-29-2005 01:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for venus     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

I just saw this interesting reply.

Yes, I can imagine a museum or "heavy hitter" collector using this method. It is amazing what can be done anymore.

Thanks for the information.

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Posts: 845
Registered: Aug 2005

iconnumber posted 09-02-2005 08:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FWG     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
OK, here's a trick I learned from a friend for bringing out marks:
  1. Make a dilute solution of common household bleach -- not one of the high-tech formulations, or non-chlorine bleach, but plain ol' chlorine bleach. I use about 5:1 to 10:1; for some reason the weaker solution seems to work better.
  2. Apply directly to the mark with a fine artist's brush, and wait and watch. The bleach solution will tarnish the metal at an accelerated rate, and the rate is different for the compressed and uncompressed parts of the mark. Often one can see the mark, sometimes different parts in stages, as the tarnish progresses.

    If left until it's all black, just start the process of gently polishing again; it's not hard to either polish it all out or to leave it in the recessed areas. This is a natural tarnish, just chemically induced, sort of like using liver of sulfur only gentler and without the sulfur odor.

PS: sometimes for some reason the solution doesn't do anything. My presumption in such a situation is that a tarnish-preventing polish has been used, and I've sometimes been able to get it to work with repeat applications.

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