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Sun May 28 09:43:46 PDT 2006

that were used in the 15 and 16th century were far from pure, and would then
be prone to tarnish. I believe though that the people who could afford to
have clothes adorned with gold and silver embellishments also had servants
who took proper care of their precious clothes...

When I work with fine silver (.999 purity) it tarnishes also - you can see
the process quite clearly on this picture
Collar trim is made from fine silver wire (see detail at ) You can see that the scallops are
more tarnished than the footside, because they are exposed to the air. The
footside is mounted on the fabrics that partially blocks the air
circulation, so the lace doesn't tarnish as quickly. Major causes of the
tarnishing process are the moisture and a content of sulphur in the air. I
live in Vancouver, where we have a high content of both, so I keep my silver
lace always in zip lock bags with 3M anti-tarnishing squares. I also clean
my silver regularly - I really like to do it, so it doesn't bother me.

The only way of preventing fine silver or sterling silver completely from
tarnishing is rhodium plating, which would be very un-period.

Pure gold will not tarnish, but the gold fill will, depending on the content
of gold and other metals in the alloy. I would suggest to use a base metal
or gold filled spangles and have them commercially plated with 24kt gold -
that would be the least expensive way to go. It wouldn't contradict the
period techniques either, because plating (gilding) was widely used in the
Renaissance and before.

Hope this helps,


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