Mother often told the story of how she would stop and gaze in the window of a downtown department store at a beautiful silver tea set on her walk home from work each day. She then began to set a bit aside from each of her paychecks to invest in a silver tea pot.
I too have admired vintage and antique silver. I love it when it’s shiny, and I love it equally when it’s shabby and tarnished. But every once in a while I do feel the need to polish it up to see the beauty underneath. I have been cleaning my silver pieces annually, usually a bit before the holidays arrive.
I have a little silver tea pot that I cherish. It was a wedding gift from a revered aunt and uncle. The pot with it’s creamer and sugar bowl stands on funny little feet, some are twisted, all are charming.
I’m trying to learn a bit more about vintage and antique silver. I just watched a video by Martha Stewart that described English tea sets. I was amazed at their beauty, some were from the late 1700’s and were still perfectly functional and beautiful.
When I am exploring at an estate sale or thrift store I usually stop to examine an item that strikes me as being a charming relic of the past. If an item is made of silver it would have a mark or number imprint, often on the back or bottom. I generally look for tarnish first, then check the item for an imprint. If I decide to bring it home the first step is to clean it up.
I have been using a technique to clean my silver that utilizes household staples and chemistry to work miracles. I originally discovered this method on science fun.org, when researching science concepts for my students. Science fun explains tarnish like this; “ When silver tarnishes, it combines with sulfur and forms silver sulfide. Silver sulfide is black. When a thin coating of silver sulfide forms on the surface of silver, it darkens the silver. The silver can be returned to its former luster by removing the silver sulfide coating from the surface.” There is a great explanation of how this technique works including the chemical equation. I also enjoyed the tutorial over at Creekline House.
As far as cleaning projects go this was a fun one, the results are immediate and dramatic. I have a few more pieces to clean, but first I am going to check up on the news.
I sit in my sunny, cozy home and watch the reports from Texas. I’m counting my blessings that I have not had to evacuate a home I love or hoist my dogs onto the roof to await our rescue. There are so many pictures of heroism and stoic faces of survivors. My heart aches for the little mothers protecting their babies and families trying hard to care for their elderly and disabled loved ones. So many thoughts run around my head as I question what I would do and what can I do. Donating to The Red Cross is something I can do. I’m going to visit their website.
Thanks for listening. Take care.
P.S. There are some vintage silver-plate and metal items available in my Etsy shop