Uses for Sturdy but Tarnished Chain?

by Willette Campbell.

Hello everyone. I repurpose friends’ and families’ unwanted and discarded jewelry. Many pieces have good but tarnished chain that I just can’t seem to throw away. Would love to see or hear ways to incorporate chain into actual jewelry design pieces.

Willette Campbell

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  • Sandy says:

    I use silver paste for all of my things, works like a charm and you can usually find containers in the grocery store in the cleaning isle. I cut up old socks use one piece to apply the paste (a little goes a long way) let it dry (doesn’t take but a few seconds) the wipe with another dry piece of sock. Hope this helps! Sandy

  • Sandy, thank you for sharing this helpful tip! 🙂

  • Beth says:

    Hi Willette, if it is silver then possibly melt it down & solder into a another design. Of course, re the cleaning up of the chain this then leaves the chain ready to use as a chain in another design. However sometimes the tarnished look is good – some jewellers purposes create a tarnished look with Liver of Sulpher which would make it look a bit antique.

  • Judy Bjorkman says:

    For quick and easy removal of tarnish on either silver or base metals, try Tarn-X (available in grocery and drug stores). Just dip the jewelry piece in it, for a couple of seconds. (Do not EVER “soak” jewelry in Tarn-X!) Remove, rinse well, and dry.
    I pour some Tarn-X into a plastic container with a lid — the same batch of Tarn-X can be used for many weeks. –Judy

  • SpeedBrite makes a great ionic cleaner that will remove the tarnish and is safe for all stones, even pearls if you want to clean the chains. To use them in a product, you can use them as tassels etc on pieces you plan to patina. Be careful using items like tarnex. They will pit the silver over time and will destroy opal. I found out the hard way and had to replace a bunch of chains early in my jewelry journey.

  • I second Duane’s SpeedBrite recommendation. I have used one for years and love its cleaning ability.

  • Elizabeth Reid says:

    Where do you buy SpeedBrite? Is it liquid?

  • Mary Anne says:

    Rio Grande, and Amazon carry the speedbrite system. Also, there are several You Tube video tutorials about using the system. It’s an ultrasonic cleaner and liquid. It’s a bit of money though!

    I will stick to silver polish (got it at Walmart), an old toothbrush, and a soft old rag.

  • Sheila says:

    I have see chain as you are describing used in steam punk designs.
    There are lots of steam punk ideas on Pintrest. It’s meant to look tarnished and antiqued and this type of jewelry is popular with the younger ladies.

  • Keep in mind that over time Tarn-x will ruin the finish, even on sterling.

  • Barb Smith says:

    Chain pieces, either alike or assorted, can make really interesting tassles. They can all be the same length or varied. You could use them for earrings or on necklaces or pendants.

  • Willette says:

    Thank you Sheila, as I have seen steam punk. I love all the cleaning tips for tarnished chain. I would like to incorporate some of the tarnished chain inside different design pieces, mixed media style!

  • Willette says:

    Thank you Barb, this I have done. The results are beautiful.

  • Willette says:

    Thanks Beth,
    I do like the tarnished look of the chains. Will try the liver of sulpher.

  • Sharon Millwood says:

    soft toothbrush and toothpaste. Rinse well and dry afterwards

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