Caring For Alchemy Gothic Items

Looking After Your Pewter-Ware

Alchemy Gothic uses Fine English Pewter, brass and crystal in many of their designs. Over time, these polished metals can tarnish and gather a dark, greasy patina. With the right equipment and after-care, you can ensure your jewellery, decor and other Alchemy items remain in dazzling condition.

Disclaimer: This article is meant as advice only. GlitterGoth cannot be held responsible for damage that may occur through over-zealous or abusive polishing procedures.

How Not To Clean or Use Your Pewter

Pewter does not tarnish per se, but it does react very strongly with some chemicals and acids. Such reactions can cause permanent, deep damage to your pewter-ware. Therefore avoiding certain substances and situations are essential to prolong the life of your Alchemy purchases.

  • Do not place any pewter items in the dishwasher. The salt and chemicals in the detergent will blacken the metal, often beyond repair.
  • Avoid contact with citrus fruits, drinks and fizzy sodas. The high acidity of these can damage pewter, leaving permanent stains. If your pewter does come into contact with any of these items, clean them immediately.
  • Goblets and tankards should not be used to drink citrus juice, mixers with citrus juice, sodas, or mixers with a fizzy drink base. Most alcohol, including beer, is safe to drink from these vessels.
  • Do not bring your pewter-ware into contact with chlorinated water. Wearing your jewellery in the pool or hot-tub, or even in the high-chlorine atmosphere found in some sports-centres, may cause a dark patina to accumulate on the surface.

Cleaning Your Alchemy Items

As long as you do not expose your pewter to any of the situations mentioned above, the general care of your Alchemy Items is relatively straight forward. Mostly highly polished items, such as the tankards, will benefit from a wash in warm, soapy, non-chlorinated water after each use (or, if they are decorative, every six months). Dry thoroughly with a soft cloth, and your smooth pewter should be returned to its normal shine.

More intricate items may require a more thorough clean. Although this does not need specialist equipment, it can be useful to have a few versatile items on hand to help with the job.

Pewter-Care Toolkit

Whether you are polishing jewellery, glassware, decor or other metal items, there is a basic toolkit that will make the job much easier.

  • A soft polishing cloth: Available at most large stores, a soft polishing cloth such as the Sunlight polishing cloth is gentle and non-abrasive, allowing you to polish your items to a shine without damaging their surface.
  • A baby's toothbrush: The small head and fine bristles of a baby's toothbrush are perfect for working paste polish into intricate nooks and crannies, and removing it again.
  • A soft bristle big paint-brush: One of these is great for removing excess dust from bigger items such as clocks.
  • Q-tips/Cotton buds: The soft cotton wool is ideal for removing dust and dirt from hard to reach places.
  • Silver polish: This versatile, low impact abrasive polish is a good all-rounder for polishing Alchemy Gothic pieces, as it is suitable for pewter. You may want to buy a separate brass polish for some items, such as the tankards, with large brass features. Silvo is the recommended British brand. However, any silver polish which forms a creamy paste will work well.
  • Fresh water: In most places, warm tap water will do nicely. However, in areas with chlorinated water, such as might be found on low lying areas of the Eastern Seaboard, mineral water bought from a store is normally the best bet, as chlorine can react strongly with pewter.
  • Mild detergent: Hand soap or very mild washing-up liquid is ideal for removing lingering traces of polishing fluid and dirt from your items.
  • Windowlene/Windex/Glass Cleaner: A dash of glass cleaner is perfect for bringing the shine back to any crystal detailing, and is worth having on hand.

Polishing Your Pewter

Firstly, consider the nature of your item and whether it may suffer from being submerged in water. Clocks and watches, in particular, will become damaged by submersion. Where possible, remove the watch movement from the pewter frame. Clocks in particular should only need a gentle dusting. A soft bristle paintbrush will allow you to thoroughly shift the dust and dirt.

If you are confident your item will not suffer from getting wet, lay it down on some absorbent material, such as an old towel. Take the baby toothbrush and dip it into the polish before gently working the polish lightly into the ridges and intricacies of the piece. Wipe off any excess and leave to dry.

Once the silver polish has dried into a thin layer of (often pink) paste, you can take your soft polishing cloth and gently begin to rub away the polishing fluid. Working gently and slowly is often best. Some smooth items will be complete after this step, polished to a shine and returned to their former glory.

Intricate items, however, such as The Couer Sauvage Necklace, have a lot of detail, and it may be hard to remove the polishing fluid from the dips and scales.

To finish the job, fill a bowl with warm, non-chlorinated water. Add a dab of mild detergent such as washing-up liquid, and submerge your jewellery in the water. Taking the baby toothbrush, clean the bristles of polish and then gently brush the polish paste away from the detail. Alternatively, holding the item under running water can provide adequate pressure to wash the polish fluid away.

This can often be slow work, but it pays off to be thorough.

Once you have cleaned your item of all the polishing fluid, dab away the excess water and then return to your polishing cloth. Using a clean section, wipe away any remaining water in a gentle, circular motion. Pay attention in particular to the detail, including the chains of necklaces and the claws of rings. Placing the item near (but not on) a warm radiator for an hour will ensure the water has safely evaporated away.

The finishing touch for most Alchemy pieces is the crystal details. In most cases, the polishing and submersion process will clean off grime, but it's easy to leave behind fingerprints as you handle your Alchemy Gothic purchase.

Put a little bit of glass cleaner in a bowl and dip a q-tip/cotton bud into the solution. Wipe it gently over the facets of any crystal details. It will bring out the shine and really make your Alchemy piece look as good as new.

Sterling Silver Items

Alchemy Items can be custom made in silver at their Alchemy Studios Site. Silver-care varies from pewter care, although the same general rules apply.

From personal experience among the GlitterGoth staff, they have found a great bit of at-home chemistry that can bring up silver-ware a treat. Please note this is suitable for silver and silver plate only. It must not be used on pewter, as it will damage the metal.

To clean your silver-ware perfectly with minimal effort, follow these instructions:

  • Take a large piece of aluminium foil and place it in a bowl to form an aluminium foil bowl shape.
  • Place your silver or silver plate item on the aluminium foil, and cover it with a generous helping of salt.
  • Pour boiling water into the aluminium foil and cover the silver item. The outer bowl will stop any spillage.
  • Fold the aluminium foil down over the item, being careful not to scald your fingers.
  • Leave for twenty minutes or until the water has cooled.
  • Tip away the water and open the tinfoil. There will be a strong smell of rotten eggs, but your silver item will be gleaming like new.
  • Rinse under cool water, and dry thoroughly.

We hope that this advice can help you take the best possible care of your Alchemy purchases, so that they can continue to bring you joy and delight for many years to come.

If you have any questions or would like further advice, then please contact GlitterGoth and we will do our best to assist you.