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Opinions on cleaning EGA


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The proverbial can of worms!  

Museum types consider 'patina' as part of the artifact and rarely remove it, though getting 'dirt' of is ok if done gently.  Collectors often want the item, especially a badge or medal, to look as it did when worn.  You pay your money and you take your choice.  Having been a Sergeant Major, of sorts, I cringe when I see 'dirty brass' but I also have museum training so...  I tend to come on on the side of gentle polishing.

If you are sure it isn't MEANT  to be black - I believe some USMC insignia is/was - rub it with a layer of tomato ketchup and wait 30 minutes.  The acidic solution will remove some of the surface tarnish, if it is brass or plated silver/bronze.  Then perhaps a silver cloth - soft and non-abrasive.  You won't get 'DI shiny' but it will brighten up.  No Brasso!  That's fine for insignia to be worn on parade but this is another category!

Hope that helps a bit!

Peter

 

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Hi Peter,

Good points. This is an officers EGA 10kt gold and sterling. Meant to be seen the black is tarnish. I am eager to see what others have to say. I am happy either way. 

Zoom in on the America's it looks brass but that is gold. 

Thanks! George

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On ‎2‎/‎7‎/‎2017 at 08:24, peter monahan said:

The proverbial can of worms!  

Museum types consider 'patina' as part of the artifact and rarely remove it, though getting 'dirt' of is ok if done gently.  Collectors often want the item, especially a badge or medal, to look as it did when worn.  You pay your money and you take your choice.  Having been a Sergeant Major, of sorts, I cringe when I see 'dirty brass' but I also have museum training so...  I tend to come on on the side of gentle polishing.

If you are sure it isn't MEANT  to be black - I believe some USMC insignia is/was - rub it with a layer of tomato ketchup and wait 30 minutes.  The acidic solution will remove some of the surface tarnish, if it is brass or plated silver/bronze.  Then perhaps a silver cloth - soft and non-abrasive.  You won't get 'DI shiny' but it will brighten up.  No Brasso!  That's fine for insignia to be worn on parade but this is another category!

Hope that helps a bit!

Peter

 

I never heard of the Ketchup, but I will have to remember it. I always try to not remove Patina, however, when I do cleaning I use a q-tip with some rubbing alcohol just to clean out dirt and the yuck, but I never try to remove the Patina.

Good luck Marine.

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There's the can of worms open wide!  Many collectors and curators consider removing anything but surface dirt an abomination.  others... not so much.  You say 'Tomato', I say 'Tomahto'. :)

Tarnish is an 'artifact' caused by chemistry, not a part of the natural 'wear' on a badge or medal, IMHO, so I'd stick with 'gentle polish' as opposed to, say, nicks or surface wear which are part of the honest aging process. But, see above for the ways of saying tomato. ;)

 

Edited by peter monahan
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I second what Paul C stated.  How these age over time adds to the charm they take on.  These are not rare and if you want a clean, pristine example, they are out there and still plentiful as this pattern was in use from 1937 through 1956 and probably worn even later.

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A couple of local guys say to clean it up. Interresting to me to read the opinions. There is a jewelry cleaner that you can dip this is and it takes all the grime off. Then it will sparkle. In any case the jury is out. I don't know what I will do having several sets I like them clean and shiney. 

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