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Thread: super light chain going black in pickle

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
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    Default super light chain going black in pickle

    Please help as this is driving me mad! I need to pickle pendants which need a good fifteen minutes in my citric acid pickle, but they are attached to very light silver chain which turns black when left in the pickle this long.
    How can I stop this happening and how can I now sort the chain which has gone a horrible black? It's too fine to heat as it immediately melts and too fine to brush with steel wool to get its silver colour back.

    Any help would be hugely appreciated, thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    1. It is much more convenient to pickle your pendants and finish them first, before attaching them to a chain.

    2. Use a hand hot solution of alum as a pickle and it will be ready in two to three minutes. Alum is safe and is in fact used in some Indian recipes. You can buy it on line, or at some Indian grocers.
    It will not discolour chains, provided you use brass or plastic tweezers. do not use steel.

    You will probably be able to revive your blackened chain in this, or if not, then in Goddards Silver Dip. Dennis.
    Last edited by Dennis; 03-10-2018 at 10:34 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Alum powder used to be rally difficult to come by, my chemist couldn’t even find it in his book which I found strange.
    On amazon it’s listed as a foodstuff mainly and I wouldn’t really go past it.

  4. #4
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    Can I just remind people that while alum (the traditional name - potassium aluminium sulphate, or sulfate for the US market - might garner additional hits) and citric acid are low toxicity (according to LD50 tests), the moment you use them as pickle you dissolve copper into it, which is not low toxicity.

  5. #5
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    So what would you suggest Peter and how toxic are we speaking?
    Last edited by CJ57; 04-10-2018 at 10:47 AM.

  6. #6
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    It's more the cavalier attitude to disposal I've seen elsewhere - "it's natural!" "it's safe!"... In terms of human toxicity, don't drink it/gargle it/bathe in it/stick your hands in the solution (also hurts like hell if you have any cuts). In terms of marine wildlife toxicity, don't pour it down the drain. Copper sulphate is used as a stump killer (although I prefer potassium nitrate, it's more... Fun); it's also the main ingredient in Bordeaux solution (not good for moulds either). Neither are ideal as they get into the water table - they aren't magically filtered by the soil, per one claim I saw.

    Water is safe. Water that I've dissolved potassium cyanide in, not so much. Both are natural though.

  7. #7
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    I usually put mine into the gravel or the soak away in the garden. I have been known to stick my fingers in to get something small the rings refuse to get and yes it nips your cuts!
    It was what we were guided to as opposed to sulphuric acid when I left college in the 70s, as you can imagine H&S wasn’t high on the agenda then. We weren’t allowed to wear eye protection for polishing, the only bit of us that wasn’t covered, as they would get dirty and we would hurt ourselves and the optrex in the first aid cabinet had probably been there for years! Oh happy days of bliss and ignorance

  8. #8
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    Dec 2014
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    South Australia
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    H&S had not been invented in 70's, I remember making some bench tops for a science lab at a school that was being updated, we had to join them. the joins were not perfectly level
    so the boss said just sand them down with the belt sander. not a problem except these days we would not do that they were made from Asbestos.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Posts
    12

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    thank you all and thank you Dennis, the Goddards silver dip worked! have ordered Alum pickle. What would I do without this forum?!

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