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Jewelry Cleaner CAUSED Tarnish?

April 2, 2012

Q. I just had a disturbing experience in a jewelry store. My fiancee and I went in to look at wedding bands to match her engagement ring, which I had been told at the time of purchase was circa 1905, possibly Cartier, platinum (the mount, with lattice style cut outs) on 18 kt yellow gold. The jeweler took the engagement ring to clean it, and to her (and our)horror, the jewelry cleaner immediately turned the mount part of the ring a dark coppery color. The owner was called, came, and we soon found it was just oxidation or tarnish and easily buffed off. You can clearly see where the two different metals are joined, and the shank of the ring may be a later replacement, but what I want to know is, what would cause jewelry cleaner to tarnish one part of the ring and not the other, and what might this indicate about actual composition of the "platinum" mount?


Taylor Boyd
Jewelry consumer - Spring City, Pennsylvania

April 18, 2012

A. It sounds like that the solder that was used in making the piece was not silver, more likely it was a silver, tin, or zinc solder for the joints rather than platinum. That is your likely culprit.

Marc Aaron Banks
- Lenoir, North Carolina

May 2, 2012

Q. Thank you, can you explain why the solder would cause the entire mount (front part of the ring) to tarnish?

Taylor Boyd
- Spring City, Pennsylvania, USA

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