Thursday, October 22, 2015
Wow! Just a bit more than two months till Christmas! Where does the time go? Come visit us at Harry & Annies, where time moves in mysterious ways... Are you in to retro? We have something for that! Are you into primitives? We've got something for that too! Our stock changes daily, and we are constantly adding and buying! In the last week I heard no less than 8
people lament "Oh but it was here just a few days ago...!" When they discovered the treasure they had their eye on earlier in the week was gone! If you love it- take it with you, or at the very least, put a down payment on it to hold it for you for 30 days, because chances are very good that if you love it, it will be gone when you come back because someone else loved it more!
First let's talk PATINA. Patina is a rich, warm color which forms over time as a result of use and handling. The patina that blooms on well-loved and well-used pieces of silver is caused by oxidization of silver when it hits the air, and is a fine film that coats the entire surface. It fills in all the micro scratches that come from being handled and used, protecting the silver. Patina is very desirable on antique silver and flatware. Oxidation (blackening in the fine details of a pattern) is also very desirable and increases value. Plus it gives detail to patterns and that lovely sheen and mellow luster, so go ahead and put them out for all to enjoy!
If you have a large set of flatware, be sure to rotate the pieces so that they all get the same amount of use and time out in the air- this will give them all the same patina. (And you thought those butlers on Downton Abby always counting the silver was silly!)
Now lets talk TARNISH. Tarnish is not patina! Tarnish is the all-over blackening of silver caused by pollutants in the air. This is easily distinguishable from patina. Avoid buying tarnished silver and silverplate because it can hide wear and damage. The old-fashioned way of removing tarnish by hand polishing with a non-abrasive silver polish is always best for your antique silver. Hand polishing will remove tarnish; it will not remove the patina but rather, add to it.
Silver was meant to be used everyday! It helps keep it looking good! Flatware particularly, will rarely need polishing except for forks, which react with sulfur that is found in foods (onions, eggs and spinach are the worst culprits.) To counteract this- a quick rub with a GENTLE silver cream will do the trick.
A quick, hot handwash and dry is really the best option for silver. Heat and harsh detergents will whiten and etch your silver overtime, as well as give it black spots that will never come out if it accidentally touches stainless steel. Make sure to dry the inside of items like vases and pitchers completely! Do not let your knives soak, as it can cause the handles to loosen.
To keep your silver candlesticks and other pretties shining, they only need a small bit of TLC, such as a quick buffing now and then with a silver mitt, or polishing cloth.
Pop back next month as we talk about storing your precious pieces! And in December, we will talk about full on polishing your silver.