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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
September 28, 2011

Question:

Dale, thank you for all of your daily tips; I read every one of them and have learned so much! I particularly like the articles on gem-rocks.

Recently, I obtained a quantity of different sizes and shapes of crystals from an old crystal chandelier. They are absolutely beautiful, but, besides years of dirt accumulation from being stored incorrectly, they are covered with a rust residue from the wires. Once cleaned, they will make beautiful wire projects, but I need help on the proper way to clean them. What do you suggest?

-Joyce in Port Charlotte, Florida

Answer:

Hey Joyce, what a wonderful dilemma! The crystals from old chandeliers do make lovely jewelry statements. Please keep in mind that the solution I am going to tell you about is only for the crystals (for those of you who wish to clean an entire chandelier, this is not for the metal parts!) This also works on diamond rings!

Make a solution of equal parts of ammonia and warm water and add a drop or two of blue Dawn dish detergent. Soak the crystals in the mixture for a bit and then use a soft toothbrush and a rag to remove the heavy grime. Rinse them in clear warm water and let them air dry. Done! Yes, I know that there are many different types of crystals, such as Turkish, Italian, Egyptian, Chinese, and Swarovski®, however the above solution is safe on all of them.

Several years ago, a very dear friend sent me a box of crystals from chandeliers that once hung in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. I came across them and even though I know she meant for me to make jewelry with them, I couldn’t leave them in their box any longer, so I use a heavy brass hanger and electrical pliers to make this sun catcher that I now enjoy in my studio window. Yes, it was difficult to photograph without taking down, and yes, I have also made earrings using a similar design and (much smaller) crystal beads.

Chandelier Crystal Hanger

Chandelier Crystals cleaned and wire wrapped, then hung from pieces of a wire hanger, by Dale Armstrong

However you decide to use your special crystal components, Joyce, I hope you enjoy them for many years!

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

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