silver and plastic wrap

Sterling and plastic wrap do not play well together

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Please, please do not wrap your sterling in plastic wrap to keep it clean.

I have a wonderful piece at the moment, a sterling silver 3 piece butter dish.  It is not common to find one in sterling, and even less so, to find one with the glass liner still intact – no nicks, fleabites, or anything.  My delight at finding this beauty was somewhat dimmed when it took me 2 weeks (and I am not exaggerating) to clean it up.  It had been sealed with plastic wrap.

silver and plastic wrap

I wish, I wish I had a better “before” photo.
You can see the yellowed edges of the plastic wrap on the piece at the top of the picture.

Silver and Plastic Wrap

The person who had applied the wrap did an excellent job.  Without doubt, the intention had been to seal out all the air to prevent it from tarnishing.  Well, I can vouch for the fact, that in the 50+ years since that wrap had been put on, it did, indeed, prevent tarnish.

A slight digression, how did I know it had been on for 50 years?  The lovely lady who consigned the piece with me confessed her Grandmother had wrapped it up and given it to her (my consigner).  She went on to say that, as she had not used it in 50 years, she figured she could part with it.

Back to my story.

At first when I got it back to the office, I thought the wrap would just peel off.  Then I discovered it was ancient and parts flaked off.  That is, the parts that did not come into direct contact with the sterling.  To my horror I realized that the whole item had been incredibly carefully covered.  Really, she must have ironed it on it was so perfectly applied.  Over the years the two had become molecularly bonded or something.  I could not get it off!

I used polish.  Nothing.  I soaked it in hot water for an hour or so. Ha!  I soaked it in cold water for 3 days.  Zero.  By now I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever get it off?

Another afternoon of soaking in warm water.  Eureka!  A piece about a quarter of an inch square came off after I worked my fingernail under it.  Nothing else though.  Back into the water and repeat.  And repeat again.

It became a personal challenge to get all that wrap off.  If you can you imagine, it was on all the surfaces – inner and outer – of what are essentially 2 boxes. One shallow, one deep.

It took TWO weeks.

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