Tarnish on nickle silver


Elite Cafe Member
Sep 16, 2013
Thread starter #1
I'm just about ready to put my watch together with my new MeekSquirrel dial and I'm a little concerned about tarnish. In the photo, you see a pendant I made for my granddaughter a couple years ago. It looks just dirty or smeared. Should I spray the dial with clear lacquer or coat with wax ?
And the background is polished to a mirror finish. I think a matte finish would enable you to see it better under the crystal.
Can I get some suggestions on both these concerns please ?
Thanks in advance ,Mark 20191010_103056.jpg


Staff member
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Feb 11, 2007
washington, pa
i've used common brasso on nickel silver. and have used lacquer or wax with good results. using lacquer on objects that get handled a lot, sometimes chipping will occur.
May 17, 2018
If nickel is tarnishing, the metal is reacting to a reagent present on the metal (probably acid, but could also be base). This can happen when an oxidizer has been used to blacken background without neutralizing. I'm guessing your nickel piece either has an active reagent oxidizing the piece from the background, or has come in contact with a reagent (e.g. skin oils or tanned leather residues).

One suggestion, if the tarnish is just lightly on the surface and hasn't 'embedded', is a Sunshine Cloth (or Rich Glow Glove) from Rio Grande. Just rub gently on the top surfaces of your workpiece, and it should buff right up. This also works very nicely for sterling and gold.

Once you’ve polished it up, you’ll probably want to coat the surface with a clear, satin, or matte fixative (depending on the finish you want) to keep it from re-oxidizing.
Last edited:

Jahn Baker

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Mar 22, 2008
Cottonwood, AZ - USA
In watchmaking school we were taught to use Simichrome Polish (Rio Grande.com Item: 331126). It's a none-abrasive polish that you rub on with a piece of an old t-shirt, let dry a couple minutes and rub off with a soft flannel. We used it to restore the shine to ornately engraved pocket watches without damaging the detail.