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Greener Jewellery – Vinegar vs. Citric Acid.

It’s time to switch from a strong chemical pickle in my workshop to a more friendly alternative which has less impact on the environment and is easier to dispose of. Now the question is what is my best alternative?

Citric acid powder

I have heard that people are using vinegar with salt, or citric acid, instead of the usual jewellers’ choice; sodium bisulphate. This afternoon I did a quick experiment to see which gives the best results in the shortest time.

I used this recipe that I found for the vinegar solution: 1 cup of white vinegar with 1 tablespoon of salt. I dissolved the citric acid powder in warm water until it was saturated.

after soldering

I had some large silver jump rings to solder so I set up a bowl of hot citric acid and a bowl of hot vinegar solution.

After quenching my jump rings I put one in each pickle solution and waited.

Of course it took longer than the sodium bisulphate but after a couple of minutes it was clear that the vinegar was cleaning the silver quicker.

Citric pickle on the left: Vinegar on the right.

Ten minutes later and these were the results. I tried the test again in the interest of fairness and found the same.

Vinegar wins! Anyone know of anything better?

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Batch Produced Silver ‘Molecule’ Cufflinks

I’ve recently applied to have some of the work I sell online certified as handmade through the website I sell on, and I thought I would share some of my batch production images here. I’d say these cufflinks are my best sellers so I often make mini batches to have on hand at busy times. And to be honest I love seeing all the matching pairs and sets lined up in unison!

Lined up in pairs ready to be soldered.
Cleaned up cufflinks but grubby fingers marks on the paper!
Letting the pickle do the hard cleaning - I was probably off having a cup of tea
A batch ready to ship out, polished and boxed.
One of the finished pairs: Adrenaline Cufflinks