Let's make sure we understand the term polish-------it means to make brighter------to make glossy. Cleaning is not polishing and visa versa. To neglect to do the finishing polishing of your wire jewelry properly is to leave your jewelry uncompleted. Let's look at some simple techniques for polishing your wire jewelry.
#1--Hand Polishing --- This is a very simple method of using a cloth (old cotton T-shirt) with a dab of red rouge. If you are running the wire through a polishing cloth with red rouge on it before building your project, you can get a pretty good glow to your gold or silver. But you should also rub your finished project briskly with the same cloth after it is completed. After that just get some good old fashion tooth paste and clean up the piece and rinse in warm water to get all the red rouge off. This method will work out fine and does not require any expensive equipment.
You can also get a few jewelers cloths impregnated with jewelers rouge and ready to go. They're pretty cheap and will last months and months.
#2---Dremel Polishing ----This is a very professional way to polish your jewelry and the cost is really not too bad depending on what equipment you purchase. A Dremel is really a brand name like Ford is a car; Dremel is really a rotary tool, plain and simple. There are several models available and they go from 5,000 to 30,000 rpm, rpm meaning revolutions per minute.
Most large jewelry supplies want about $80 or so for a Dremel, and to justify the price they give you a fancy packet of accessories that you will never use. You can get an off-brand rotary tool in our tool section without the gizmos right here, for less than half the price, and it will go as fast as you need.
You will need some rotary buffing pads about the size of a quarter and usually the wider the buffing pad, the less problem you will have with the wire getting caught up in the pad. A small thin mandrel about the size of a big nail will work to hold your pad on and usually the rotary tool comes with at least one mandrel. . Remember at 30,000 rpms you're going to have red rouge flying everywhere so make sure it's in a place where you won't ruin the new drapes. And if you do a lot of polishing you want to get a mask because all these chemicals like red rouge can be irritating if you take a lot of it in your lungs, so play it safe and have good ventilation and a mask to keep from breathing in all that red rouge.
This type of polishing is much better on sterling silver then gold filled wire because you cannot burn the silver and you can burn the gold filled if you polish it hard enough and long enough. A light touch is better.
#3---Ionic Jewelry Cleaner --- If you have the cash and want the fastest and safest way to clean your wire jewelry, you might think about getting an ionic cleaner. Ionic cleaners work on an entirely different method than a sonic cleaner and will not break a stone: that means cracked ones, opals, cameos, etc. As compared to a sonic cleaner as there could be potentially damaging sound waves that could break a customer's gemstone - and that could get expensive!
The Ionic Cleaner will actually go in and between the wire and PULL the goo out and some other cleaners won't do that. When it's working, it looks something like an alka seltzer. There are several models available to suit the hobbyist or the professional. But this is my choice of cleaner.
#4---Tumbling Wire Jewelry
--- Tumbling wire jewelry is really a new phenomenon as a few years back few
people had one or used it to polish anything other then rocks. BUT! I can
testify that tumbling does not only bring your soft gold or silver to a fever high
gloss but it will make all your tiny wires very hard structures, reducing damage
through the years and making a lifetime piece of wire jewelry out of some very thin
The tumbler work hardens the wire while it cleans and polishes. But you can't use it like a polisher; you should only use it one time, because it will take a thin layer of gold or silver off of the wire. You can tumble gold filled and sterling from one to two hours with no problem. It is really the ultimate in cleaning and polishing all in one. You plug it in and pick up your finished wire jewelry two hours later! There are many to choose from, but I'm partial to the double barrel tumbler, because you can keep two cleaning barrels going at one time. Might not mean much to you now, but when you got 300 pieces of wire jewelry to clean it will.
For more information about tumbling your jewelry, click here.
Whatever you decide, make sure your wire jewelry is polished and well cleaned. It's the difference between a professional and an amateur.