60-Second Silver: Charcoal strips useful when packing silver

The following instructions are tried and true techniques when shipping silver.

Firstly, wear cotton or nitrile gloves, as finger prints will etch silver.

Objects, such as sectional candelabras, should be disassembled and wrapped individually. Use non-buffered tissue, which has a neutral pH and won’t promote tarnish.

For delicate pieces of silver, such as handled baskets and epergnes, crumple the tissue and place it in all open areas so all components will be supported.

Next comes the bubble wrap, which will further cushion the silver object.

Use as little tape as possible when securing the bubble wrap. Wrapping the entire bubble-wrapped silver object with packing tape makes it almost impossible to remove the piece without using a knife, which could damage the silver.

A preferred technique is to take the wrapped object and place it in a plastic bag with a 3M Anti-Tarnish Strip. These activated charcoal strips absorb tarnish-producing gasses and are especially important if the piece is going to be stored for an extended period.

Pack the object in a structurally sound 200-pound test carton. Each piece should have a minimum of 2 inches (preferably more) of padding between it and other piece(s) or the sides of the carton. The carton should be filled with Styrofoam peanuts, bubble wrap, or densely crumpled paper to snugly cushion the item(s). There should be NO inside movement after the carton has been taped.

Always remove flatware from a flatware chest and wrap the individual pieces; otherwise, any bouncing in transit could lead to scratching. ?

Jeffrey Herman started Herman Silver Restoration & Conservation in 1984, and has repaired and reconstructed everything from historically important tankards, tea services, and tureens to disposal-damaged flatware. Herman has worked at Gorham as a designer, sample maker, and technical illustrator and at Pilz Ltd., where he learned the fine art of restoration. Herman has a BFA degree in silversmithing and is the founder of the Society of American Silversmiths.

Jeffrey Herman encourages anyone with silver-related questions that can’t be answered on his Web site hermansilver.com to contact him. He may be reached at 800-339-0417or jeff@hermansilver.com or at PO Box 786, West Warwick, RI 02893.

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