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To polish or not to polish- Help! Victorian era sterling necklace

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Sterling Silver Jewelry167 of 997MARIUS SØRENSEN STERLING BROOCHRibbon Sterling Brooch
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    Posted 2 years ago

    (20 items)

    I'm into late 1800's early 1900's silver jewelry. I'm kind of shocked at the great prices I can find on ebay if I just hunt long enough.

    The first item I bought was a very tarnished ring. I over-polished it I think. It's still beautiful, but I wonder if I made a mistake.

    I have a Victorian era chain that was very very tarnished that cleaned up really nicely. I can't imagine anyone thinking it shouldn't have been polished. I'll include pictures of that.

    This flower chain I just bought though- I'm hesitating. Tell me, should I polish this? If it were meant to be polished very likely the seller (a retired jeweler) would have polished it to make it more appealing to buyers, am I right?

    This is why I'm checking with aficionados on CW: Does the seller just not care or does the seller know something about antiques that I don't? I'm new to antique silver jewelry.

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    1. truthordare truthordare, 2 years ago
      Antique and vintage sterling silver jewelry can be tricky for the seller, some people want proof of it's age and see lots of tarnish and patina, others would rather have the polished pieces, saves them the trouble, plus for me who also collects in this category, if there are any damage issues, I will see it clearly if polished.

      This really interesting flower necklace seems to have been finished with gold, what we call vermeil, a lot of it has worn off, so maybe better to slightly polish to remove the worst, give it a soak in warm sudsy water, that often helps, then polish soft cloth till dry and shiny. Thanks for posting.
    2. jenre jenre, 2 years ago
      truthordare, it's interesting to learn a vermeil finish would be the reason for the discoloring- I wondered. Thank you for responding and sharing your knowledge.
    3. pebble pebble, 2 years ago
      Yes, it's a dilemma when selling these things, whether to clean things up or not. Sometimes I'll lightly clean something to take the worst of it off, other times I'll leave it up to the buyer as some people prefer the patina (as truthordare says). I'll sometimes look at similar pieces to see if they're listed in a clean state or not. If I'm wearing items myself it depends on the piece!
    4. shareurpassion shareurpassion, 2 years ago
      I don't see a ring you are talking about. Could you post that too? Is the necklace in the first pic sterling silver and marked as such? About the polish vs. non polish; if it is a retired jeweler, it's possible they simply don't want to clean one more piece of jewelry. Other thing is that so many people believe if a piece is 'polished' that it's not authentically old, so many people sell it tarnished and some filthy... it sells that way. With chains and necklaces like these, I do dip mine in a basic cleaner you can get at any jewelry store. Just make sure you quickly rinse it with cold water and dry it right away. if you are now sure if it's sterling, dip a small area first to see what happens. rinse and dry. The more you wear a sterling piece, it will stay clean. Leave it out where the air hits it and it will tarnish when not wearing it. I would never use a paste cleaner on either of these, it's near impossible to remove it all. And if you prefer to use a paste, make sure you do have good ventilation. Ventilation is NOT an open window, trust me on that! A good jeweler will actually clean your jewelry for free, most times. They will also tell you if an unmarked piece is sterling, gold etc... that's if you don't have a tester. A quick way to know is put a magnet to your piece, if it clings to it, it's not sterling and sometimes when it doesn't stick, it's not guaranteed that it is sterling. Have I totally confused you yet??? ;) It all leads to experience!
    5. shareurpassion shareurpassion, 2 years ago
      BTW, these are both nice pieces!
    6. jenre jenre, 2 years ago
      Thanks for your comment Pebble. It's really nice to hear your thoughts.

      haha shareurpassion, I think I followed everything. I have room for one more pic on this post. I could add the cleaned ring. I probably have an old pic from the original listing on ebay so instead I'll put up a new post and maybe I can link it in the comments here.
    7. jenre jenre, 2 years ago
      Here's the ring :)
    8. valentino97 valentino97, 2 years ago
      Great cleaning advice Share! I have some "diamonds" to bring to a jeweler to find out if they are real or not. Tiny channel wedding ring. They sparkle like crazy, could be worth $50! ha ha.

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