I was looking around Gordonsville Antiques here in Central Virginia a few weeks ago when I saw a beautiful, silver tray in one of the stalls. Aside from it being larger than most (18" tall and maybe 24" wide), it had the most charming inscription. The tray was presented to a couple with fantastic names (Izler and Sevi Solomon) by the Columbus Philharmonic Orchestra Association. I didn't buy the tray, but as I'm sure you can imagine, I regretted it for the rest of the afternoon. I even mentioned it to Marc when I got home because I was so charmed by the inscription.
The tray was soon forgotten because I rushed to New Jersey when a family member got seriously ill. After a few stressful weeks up north, I finally came home to find the tray, a bottle of champagne, and cupcakes waiting for me. Talk about a great homecoming!
The tray had a little tarnish on it and I used the silver polishing cloths from Target on the worst spots without much luck. I hate those cloths because they smell terrible and I find them so messy to use. While we were at an antique store, I decided to try the silver polish they were selling, Pine-Ola.
This stuff is magic. Now, one of the Amazon reviews for this product warns that it is abrasive, so I don't think this is for every day polishing. I decided to make a quick pass over all of my trays and bowls and the results were awesome.
My tray was looking shiny and new. I loved it even more now.
I started looking out for trays that had interesting inscriptions. There was one from the 40s for a Richmond man who was involved with the Federal Reserve. Another from a dog show. One more that was for the "second runner up" in a tailgating competition for a horse show (if the second runner up gets a silver platter, what does the winner get?). With each acquisition, the Pine-Ola got the tarnish off.
That Pine-Ola had a bigger test a couple week later when Marc gave me a tray for my birthday that had more tarnish than anything I've ever owned. The engraving was incredible, though. It was from 1896 and was from the employees of "Clark's Mile End Spool Cotton Company" (which merged with Coats in the 1950s to form Coats and Clark, a common thread brand.
I couldn't resist working on the tray right away. I made a quick pass over half of it while my coffee brewed the morning of my birthday. Pardon the bad, 6 AM kitchen lighting:
When I was able to spend a little more time on it, the tray wound up looking like this:
If you let your mouse hover over this image, you should be able to see the difference between the unpolished and polished tray. I'm so happy with the outcome. Polish your silver!
So, what am I doing with all these trays? I'll show you next time.