Tumbled too long?

by Shannon

I tumbled a few silver bracelets and fell asleep. Oops! When I opened the container I was mortified to see that all my silver jewelry had turned a blackish color. Is there a way to reverse this? HELP! Some of the pieces were expensive and I have had them for a long time.

I tumbled with stainless steel shot, water just above the shot, and a drop of regular Dawn detergent.

Stacy's Answer:

Hi Shannon!

Your situation sounds like the same reoccurring culprit many folks having while tumbling. I think I get asked this question more than any other tumbling "problem". In addition to the below advice, you also need to add more water and fill the tumbler to just above the jewelry, not the shot. Also, use perhaps 1/2 teaspoon or so or the dishwashing detergent. Here's why...

"Dawn® or other dish washing liquids act as agents that hold all the yucky stuff (impurities etc...) that the stainless steel shot removes from the metal. When there are more impurities being removed than the dish soap can handle, it will happily re-deposit itself back onto the metal...hence, the greyish, nasty looking metal. You just need to tumble a bit longer with fresh solution. When your water is thick and black...time to change it! Sometimes when the items are really oxidized, they need to be taken out, re-buffed with the steel wool or 3M scrubby pad and then put into a fresh solution. Other times, you just need to change the solution. I know it sounds like a pain, but eventually you just learn by looking at it - just what needs to be done."

A good read with lots of info on tumbling, including common problems and solutions can be found in my article, "Let's Talk Tumbling". Gopd luck and please let me know how you make out!

Comments for Tumbled too long?

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Sep 06, 2011
copper and silver oops
by: Anonymous

So I tumbled my copper and silver bracelet for about an hour,(good squirt of dawn and water just above the stainless steel shot) and the silver came out looking like copper! I brass brushed it with soapy water to bring the silver back. But why would it turn the silver copper-colored?

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