To imitate old artistic productions made of solid silver, the groundwork and hollow portions not subject to friction are covered with a blackish-red earthy coat, the parts in relief remain with a bright lead lustre. Mix a thin paste of finely powdered plumbago with essence of turpentine, to which a small portion of red ochre may be added to imitate the copper tinge of certain old silverware; smear this all over the articles. After drying, gently rub with a soft brush, and the reliefs are set off by cleaning with a rag dipped in spirits of wine.
To give the old silver tinge to small articles, such as buttons and rings, throw them into the above paste, rub in a bag with a large quantity of dry boxwood sawdust until the desired shade is obtained.
Silver being a comparatively soft metal, should never be rubbed with polishing powders capable of cutting or grinding, as the delicate surface, especially if engraved or ornamented, will be sure to have the delicate lines and work injured. In cleaning silver there are but two things that ever require to be removed - dirt and the sulphuret of silver. The latter appears as a coating on all silver articles exposed to the air, and especially on silver spoons etc., which have come in contact with sulphur or the yolk of eggs. Sulphuret or sulphide of silver is soluble in several salts, especially cyanide of potassium, hyposulphite of soda, and several salts of ammonia. Therefore, to clean silver which has been blackened with sulphur, the best plan is to dissolve off the sulphide by means of some of the chemicals named.
For the ordinary purposes of cleansing silver the best material is a thin paste of alcohol, 2 parts; ammonia, 1 part; and whiting enough to make a Liquid like cream. This should be smeared or painted over the silver and allowed to stand until dry. If then brushed off with a very line brush the silver will appear clear and bright. The alcohol and ammonia dissolve all dirt and sulphide, which are then absorbed by the whiting and removed with it.
Where really good whiting, that is to say, an article that is soft or free from grit, cannot be procured, starch may be used.
The tops and other portions of silver inkstands frequently become deeply discolored with ink, which is difficult to remove by ordinary means. It may, however, be completely eradicated by making a little chloride of lime into a paste with water, and rubbing it upon the stains.
Mix 1 oz. of finely powdered saltpetre with 10 oz. sulphuric acid, and steep the goods in this mixture. If diluted with water it acts on copper and other metals, but if very strong it dis solves the silver only, and may be used to dissolve silver off plated goods without affecting the other metals.