Polishing Oxidized Chain

by Denise
(Half Moon Bay, CA)

Oxidized Chain

Oxidized Chain

What is the best/easiest way to polish silver chain once it's been oxidized? I've been polishing it by hand with steel wool, but it is soo time consuming. Is there a better way? Thanx, Denise

Stacy's Answer:

Hi Denise! Thanks for your question! The best way I've found to get a high polish on chain is to use a professional polishing machine. However, they can be very dangerous when polishing chain. I use a piece of thick leather between myself and the chain and carefully touch the chain to the polishing wheel a little at a time. If the chain becomes wrapped around the wheel it can remove fingers, so extreme caution must be used so that you don't hold your chain in a way that it could get wrapped around you. A safety on-off foot switch is a good idea in case you should ever find yourself in a position where you need to immediately cut the power.

A much safer way is to tumble polish them using mixed media stainless steel shot. I sell this in my Etsy store or you may purchase it from jewelry supply companies. I've not had any problems with the chain tangling, however very fine chain could become a knot. To prevent this you can wrap the chain, creating a neat coil, secure with a couple of twisty-ties and tumble. Usually within an hour or so the chain is shiny and beautiful!

Even with tumble polishing you still need to remove much of the excess oxidation with a very fine steel wool. Tumbling will polish the silver whether it's oxidized or not, either giving you a shiny dark gray or brighter silver if you've removed some of the excess oxidation before tumbling. Sorry to say that a little elbow grease will probably be necessary.

Comments for Polishing Oxidized Chain

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Aug 03, 2009
Low tech chain polishing
by: Nancy Cornett

If I don't have a lot of chain to polish - or I need it quickly - I have a way that makes it a little easier to hand polish.

I stretch the chain taut and hold a section firmly against a flat or round surface. A can or old glass can work for something round. Holding it taut with 1 hand I polish (using Scotch Brite pad or sythetic steel wool) with the other. After I see a shine I roll the chain to get to the bottom side. Then I just slide the chain up or down and work on the next section.

-Nancy Cornett

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