What’s the Safest Way to Clean Foil Backed Crystals?

by Sharon Berg.

What’s the Safest Way to Clean Foil Backed Crystals? - Discussion on Jewelry Making Journal

I have many necklaces that I would like to clean that have silver / rhinestone spacers where the silver plating has slightly tarnished.

It’s almost impossible to remove this with a dry polishing cloth.

I’m also concerned about immersing these in liquid.

I wondered if the ionic cleaners would be safe for foil backed crystals.

I contacted SpeedBright (manufacturer of ionic cleaners) and below is their response.

“Hi Sharon,

Thanks for your contact. It would be a good idea to keep all foil back stones dry. The silvering can come loose from the backs and they would not sparkle.

Rhinestones can be safely cleaned with the Speed Brite Cleaner since they don’t have silvering. For the foil backed stones, a damp smooth cloth should help.

Thanks for reminding us to add this to our do’s and don’ts list.

Regards, jim@sb”

My take away is that rhinestones can be either foiled glass or foiled crystal (Swarovski), but some rhinestones (probably crystal) have enough sparkle that they don’t need to be foiled. What do you think…?

Anyway, he’s saying ionic cleaning of foil backed rhinestones is a no-no…

Sad, as I think many of us would like to find a way to clean those little rhinestone/silver plate spacers.

I’ve got several necklaces where they are showing a little tarnish.

And some loose that need polishing and that is going to be uber tedious.

What’s the safest way to clean foil backed crystals?

Sharon Berg

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  1. Hi Sharon, it’s perfectly fine to clean your foil backed stones with soap and water. Just make sure that they dry thoroughly. But remember, if they are glued in, the wash may loosen the glue, and if the foil is already starting to flake off, it may flake off even more. Some people I know also use Windex, just rinse well afterwards. I’ve done it myself with no problems. All the best, Ginju 🙂

  2. Sharon Berg says:

    Thanks Ginju for your comments. It’s a relief to know that someone has immersed these in soap/water and had positive results… I will be ordering an ionic adapter for my professional ultrasonic cleaner; it also comes with a mild non-ammonia cleansing solution. I have about 100 pairs of tarnished earrings that were part of a supply purchase that I am going to “test” clean once I get the adapter. Many of these earrings have those little rhinestone spacers that are tarnished. The process takes only 10-20 seconds and then rinse with warm water and dry. I’ll post results once I actually try this method. I’m anxious to see whether the foil backs get damaged. BTW, I’m not affiliated with the mfgr of this machine… :o)

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