As we move into prepping for the many feasts and parties we’ll be enjoying this holiday season, I thought I would put together a primer on how to polish silver. Hand polishing silver is a bit time consuming and tedious, yes – this is why we offer it as a service for you! But, it’s also very doable at home if you have the time and patience for it.
First, I’ll explain the difference between hand polish and machine polish as tactics of shining sterling silver. When you hand polish an item like what we’ll show here, you use silver polishing creme, a soft cloth, and a lot of elbow grease. It’s recommended if you like a shiny, yet not blazing-white look and we think it especially looks nicer with heavily detailed, textured pieces. Leaving just a bit of oxidization in the crevices (as hand polishing will allow) brings out the contrasting elements in the design and can really help a pattern pop.
That said, some people prefer their sterling to be super shiny and perfect and for this we recommend having us polish it professionally on our polishing wheels. The end result of this process is a completely tarnish-free piece with a brilliant sheen. Also, machine-polishing tends to last longer in terms of warding off future tarnish so you will get a better return on your time and money than you will with hand polishing.
All that being said, if you want to try your hand at polishing your own silver, here are step-by-step directions on how to get the best result. Happy polishing!
Alexandria & Company is an Old Town-based workshop and design studio specializing in creating and restoring fine jewelry and silver hollowware. They are the in-the-know jewelers of Alexandria and have been serving clients out of their small workshop for decades. Tucked in their historic building on South Royal Street, the team at Alx&Co. brings a personalized, modern approach to their craft – this is not your average stodgy jeweler or antique shop. Visit them during their walk-in hours or online to view their collection of handmade fine jewelry or to drop off a repair project; or, if you’re feeling creative, make an appointment to talk about that custom design project you’ve been imagining.
121-B South Royal Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Design Studio Walk-In Hours (all jewelry services): Wednesday – Saturday 12-6pm
Silver Workshop Walk-In Hours (all silver repair and restoration services): Wednesday or Friday 12-6pm, or by appointment
Appointments encouraged for custom design.