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Silver Corrosion in a Gallery

Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 2:33 pm
by Lynn Perry
One of my best and favorite galleries for selling my work is a mix of many types of art work. Unfortunately, some of the chemicals used to produce the paintings seem to be corroding all of my sterling silver findings. If my work sells quickly, there is not time for the corrosion to begin, but after a few months the tarnish is bad enough to make the jewelry unsaleable. Since some items have findings attached with different glues, cleaning the tarnish is not feasible and I am going to have to discard items. I am even going to discard the tag cards to reduce the chance of spreading the tarnish. I do not want to discontinue selling at the gallery, so I am going to change all ear wires to surgical stainless and I am going to cease stocking larger sterling findings.

Has anyone else had this problem at their sales locations? Thanks.

Re: Silver Corrosion in a Gallery

Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 3:56 pm
by rosanna gusler
put alumin foil on a bowl or pan. add warm water and a handfull of baking soda. put jewelry in. tarnish will go away. the silver has to touch the aluminum for this to work. r.

Re: Silver Corrosion in a Gallery

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 12:40 am
by Buttercup
Lynne, if it is simply tarnish the method rosanna describes will work. However, I have a pretty handmade necklace my son gave me. The chain was supposed to be sterling silver but it has definitely corroded, not tarnished. I am guessing it was silver plated, not sterling, and the plating has worn off. Jen

Re: Silver Corrosion in a Gallery

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2015 9:27 pm
by Morganica
I think there's a somewhat bigger question here: The life of the jewelry goes beyond its existence in the gallery, so I'd have to wonder what happens when your customers get the jewelry home. What if they have similar chemicals/artwork nearby?

Whatever solution you come up with probably needs to address that bigger question, or else you're liable to have someone coming back to the gallery looking for help with a tarnish problem.

I think you're right to swap out your findings, but it's odd that this one gallery has paintings or whatnot that cause such an awful tarnish problem and it doesn't happen anywhere else. Could it be some kind of reaction with your adhesive? Maybe it's time to investigate a new adhesive, or a mechanical fastening?

Re: Silver Corrosion in a Gallery

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 9:56 pm
by seachange
I have had silver corrosion in two galleries.

In one, the necklaces had some sterling tubes glued with E6000 (a tiny amount) to a sterling chain . The sterling tubes corroded frequently at both ends.
The glass display cubes were closed and in the sun, along a large window. I assume that the sun heated up the jewelery in the closed glass cube, and the E6000 produced some fumes that discolored the silver at each end of the tubes.

In the second gallery I was using foldable silver color tabs for prices and item codes (usually I don't have to price and code items myself). The gallery manager liked them, and told me that she had started using those tabs on other items (supplied by other people). But overtime realized there was an increase in corrosion problems on sterling jewelery.

I have the same jewelery in other galleries, but these are the only ones where there was a problem.

Best regards, seachange

Re: Silver Corrosion in a Gallery

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:50 am
by Judd
Corrosion? I hope you mean tarnish. If the metal is corroding, it may only be silver plated. If that is the case, please buy real silver.
1) I use Argentium silver, which is tarnish resistant.
2) If I am selling the jewelry, I explain to the customer that silver will eventually tarnish. I suggest they buy Silver Wipes for all their silver. Perhaps you could suggest that to the gallery as well? ... nish+wipes

Re: Silver Corrosion in a Gallery

Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2015 12:32 pm
by Lynn Perry
Hi Judd and thanks to everyone for the suggestions. After swapping email with the gallery owner and learning silver tarnish is a problem throughout the gallery, I replaced all sterling ear wires with surgical stainless this week for that particular gallery. Fortunately, I do not have any tarnishing problems at the other galleries. In my price range, expensive findings, more than $1.00 per pair of ear wires, are not an option. In the same gallery, I have been underpriced and out-sold by other people who use cheaper findings and cheaper dichroic, so the market appears to be low-price oriented. I did not use sterling ear wires for many years, and I have not noticed any improved sales with them.