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Thread: Sterling Silver

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    Default Sterling Silver

    I want to get your thoughts on Sterling silver on pens, and the material in general:

    1. Those of you with Sterling pens, do you do the "obsessive cleaning" thing? (u know what ppl do with anything shiny?). I use one of those microfiber cloths.
      • Is it BAD to overclean? is there such a thing? Esp. with microfiber?
    2. Usually you see silver in expensive jewelry or vintage flatware. How well do you think it holds up to time? Of course, I ASSUME something like platinum plated holds up better?
    3. Are there any obvious advantages to Sterling Silver? Esp. those of you who collect silver pens - why did you buy them, what about the material attracted you (as opposed to something more durable like platinum).
    4. What are your thoughts on microscratches (lets be honest, those are going to happen) and patina. OFC, Patina can be cleaned, idk about microscratches...but how many of your silverware pens have these, and do you love it, hate it...try to prevent it?


    Most of these questions are about how you guys end up treating any silver pens you have, especially on a day to day use (baby it like it's a precious jewel on one end vs, just throw it in any old bag on the other). But I'm also interested on your thoughts on sterling silver as a material specifically for pens (an item that would be seeing everyday handling and carrying around, similar to say a wedding ring, as opposed to a necklace that you may wear only once in a while). This also touches on the idea of "pristine looking" vs "Aged". On many of the things I own, I LOVE the aged look, there's just something about the look of an aged piece of solid steel with all it's patina and dull look. OTOH, it's sometimes a bummer to find your new shiny pen now has a tiny scratch.
    Last edited by Tjphysicist; December 2nd, 2019 at 03:58 AM.

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    Senior Member jar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sterling Silver

    As many here might know I do have a few Sterling silver pens. I also have and use Sterling silver flatware as do most of my family. Much of the flatware has been handed down over several generations and so had a century or so of use.

    To respond to your questions I need to state that the following is only my personal and limited experience.

    Sterling silver will always stand up better over time than any plated surface. You cannot wear through Sterling silver.

    I do not do the "obsessive cleaning" thing. I use them whether we are talking pens or flatware.

    A major advantage to Sterling silver over any plated surface is that it does not get slippery when wet. That is one of the main reasons it was popular for flatware.

    Life happens. Enjoy the experience or fret over the cuts, bruises and scars. It's all up to you.
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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sterling Silver

    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    ...A major advantage to Sterling silver over any plated surface is that it does not get slippery when wet. That is one of the main reasons it was popular for flatware....
    Now that I wasn't aware of!

    I used to collect sterling pens, modern and vintage, though I'm down to just five, now. I've accepted the dings. I remember the perfect faceted Omas Paragon Solido that I picked up at the Baltimore pen show (in the photo, below), shoving it into my jeans pocket with my coins and keys and promptly dinged it walking around. I didn't mind it so much, but it did effect resale value years later. You have to decide why you own your pens, and treat them accordingly.

    I like the contrast between shiny and tarnished silver on vintage silver overlay pens, which is accomplished by a quick few swipes of a jewelers polishing cloth over the higher points, leaving the recessed areas dark.

    A few pleasant memories in a 2013 photograph, from left to right: Waterman (England), Montblanc, Omas, and the remaining four Montegrappa.

    IMG_2442.jpeg

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    Default Re: Sterling Silver

    I have only three sterling silver pens, but my wife has a huge collection of antique sterling - flatware, tea pots, trays, hot and cold water urns, serving pieces, jewelry, etc. We use sterling flatware every day that is more than 100 years old. The only thing that ever hurt or damaged it was a time when a spoon was caught in the garbage disposal.

    On the pens, I treat them in between your extremes of babying them vs. throw them in a bag. I treat them carefully but use them regularly. An occasional micro scratch doesn't bother me. Sterling does tarnish with age. If left alone long enough it will eventually turn black but sterling is easily cleaned. I actually prefer a slightly used look where some dark highlights help accentuate the patterns in the silver. I avoid overpolishing to a brand new shiny look, although that really won't hurt the pen. I simply prefer a slightly aged look on silver pens, and silver in general.

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    Default Re: Sterling Silver

    thanks for all the responses guys. I DO like the idea of some of the tarnish accentuating the shiny silver more. Glad to hear stories of very old silver still very much in good shape, means it will last as long as I am hoping. As a side question: are there specific clothes (obviously don't use a metal brush) I should avoid? LIke do the normal glass cleaning type cloths (u know the micro-fiber ones) scratch up the silver? I do plan to just let the scratches be ofc, but good to avoid purposely scratching it.

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sterling Silver

    This is just one brand. I would imagine any jewelry store will have them, or buy online by searching "Sunshine polishing cloth." Ron Zorn sells them for $5.

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    Default Re: Sterling Silver

    I only ever use a sliver cleaning cloth on my silver pens, and even then I use it very lightly and carefully so that I never rub over the silver hallmarks as they will wear off with aggressive cleaning.
    A gentle and occasional wipe over with a silver cloth is all that is needed on most silver pens. If they are really badly tarnished then silver cleaning liquid may be necessary.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: Sterling Silver

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissy View Post
    I only ever use a sliver cleaning cloth on my silver pens, and even then I use it very lightly and carefully so that I never rub over the silver hallmarks as they will wear off with aggressive cleaning.
    A gentle and occasional wipe over with a silver cloth is all that is needed on most silver pens. If they are really badly tarnished then silver cleaning liquid may be necessary.
    So...no obsessive wiping like some do on phone screens or glasses then?

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    Default Re: Sterling Silver

    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    This is just one brand. I would imagine any jewelry store will have them, or buy online by searching "Sunshine polishing cloth." Ron Zorn sells them for $5.
    This is what I *occasionally* use on my flute head (which is sterling silver while the rest is plated brass) although I rarely play it. I also use this on watches and RGP / GF pens on rare occasions.

    I remember my parents would go through a yearly ritual of polishing the flatware before Thanksgiving,the only time we would use it along with the fine china plates. They used some kind of liquid silver polish but I don't remember specifics 40 years later, sorry.

    My personal approach for a pen would be to not obsessively clean and polish regularly for fear that I might wear down any details. But I don't have a silver pen so what do I know.

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    Default Re: Sterling Silver

    Most of the Sterling pens I've bought over the decades have come with a cleaning cloth so I just use them. Mostly ones from YoL.
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    Default Re: Sterling Silver

    Quote Originally Posted by Tjphysicist View Post
    So...no obsessive wiping like some do on...glasses then?
    In my case, that's not a good example. Fingerprints and smudges on eyeglass lenses interfere with life itself!

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    Default Re: Sterling Silver

    Quote Originally Posted by Tjphysicist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissy View Post
    I only ever use a sliver cleaning cloth on my silver pens, and even then I use it very lightly and carefully so that I never rub over the silver hallmarks as they will wear off with aggressive cleaning.
    A gentle and occasional wipe over with a silver cloth is all that is needed on most silver pens. If they are really badly tarnished then silver cleaning liquid may be necessary.
    So...no obsessive wiping like some do on phone screens or glasses then?
    Definitely not.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: Sterling Silver

    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Tjphysicist View Post
    So...no obsessive wiping like some do on...glasses then?
    In my case, that's not a good example. Fingerprints and smudges on eyeglass lenses interfere with life itself!
    Hear! Hear! she cried, polishing her specs for the umpteenth time today!
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    Default Re: Sterling Silver

    The issue with cleaning is tarnish, which comes from exposure to the air.
    I think a proper silver cloth like the one shown upthread (mine are blue) would be a better bet than a microfibre cloth.
    I did clean them with Wright's Silver Polish and I do love the tarnished look of an old pen but I also love the almost liquid look of a super clean tarnish-free pen. The problem apparently (from what I've learned from others here) is that the cleaning paste finds its way into places you don't want it, even if you're being careful. I did it once and loved the effect but now I'm learning to love the patina in the details of my pens. it's more practical.
    Apparently you can buff away the details or hallmarks if you're too vigorous. I find this hard to believe but others have said that here so I buff gently and avoid the hallmarks if they are on the pen.
    I keep mine in a leather holder and take them everywhere. I love my Yard-o-Leds too much to leave them alone at home. I'm still in the honeymoon phase so maybe that will change or I'll just take one with me.

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    Default Re: Sterling Silver

    Montblanc boutiques give BIG polishing cloths as a freebie...when you're a "good customer." I don't know if they sell them.

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    Default Re: Sterling Silver

    I would dearly love to pick up a yard o led... i just cant seem to work up the will to drop that kind of money on a pen. Oh the humanity!

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    Default Re: Sterling Silver

    Quote Originally Posted by although View Post
    I would dearly love to pick up a yard o led... i just cant seem to work up the will to drop that kind of money on a pen. Oh the humanity!
    *plugs ears* LALALALALA, I'm happy with my sterling GvFC, I don't need more...LALALALA

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    Default Re: Sterling Silver

    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    Montblanc boutiques give BIG polishing cloths as a freebie...when you're a "good customer." I don't know if they sell them.
    They always gave away silver polishing cloths with silver pens. I don't know if they still do.
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    Default Re: Sterling Silver

    Quote Originally Posted by Tjphysicist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by although View Post
    I would dearly love to pick up a yard o led... i just cant seem to work up the will to drop that kind of money on a pen. Oh the humanity!
    *plugs ears* LALALALALA, I'm happy with my sterling GvFC, I don't need more...LALALALA
    Sheaffer:


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    a few others:
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    Default Re: Sterling Silver

    Just wanted to add that if the microfiber cloth isn't getting black, you might be rubbing more tarnish into the silver.
    You really want a silver polishing cloth. They get black after you use them and then you should replace them.
    Just an idea.

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