If you have some rhinestones or glass jewels that have foiled backings and you would like to use them in open-backed settings, here’s an easy way to remove the foil backing!
Make a solution of ordinary table salt and cider vinegar. Kosher salt is even better. The solution should be liquid enough to cover the stones but not so loose as to completely dissolve the salt. Soak the stones for about three hours and check by rubbing the backs with the salt. If the backing is loose enough, you should be able to remove the foil with a little rubbing. This solution will not harm the stones. Soaking time will vary with the age of the stone and the type of foil backing. Scarlett has found older stones take less time and stones with silver foil backing take longer. She usually puts these in to soak before retiring for the night. Occasionally, some silver residue will remain that the vinegar solution will not remove. Simply dunk the stones into jewelry cleaner and within a few minutes, the residue will disappear!
Bear in mind that removing the foil backing may alter the color of the stone. Some rhinestones actually receive their color from the backing as with AB finishes or other special finishes. The color of your stone will also not be as intense. Be sure to try one stone before doing them all to see if you like the color.
CLEANING BRASS THE EASY WAY
Make a solution with cider vinegar and salt. Rub it on your brass item until the desired effect is achieved. This method also works well if you have used liver of sulfur to age your brass and have reached an un-wanted patina. After neutalizing and rinsing, use the vinegar/salt solution to bring your item to the desired patina.
After using the vinegar/salt solution, rinse your item well and then dip in a solution of baking soda and water. This will remove the vinegary odor. I love this method to clean brass as it leaves no white residue and it also leaves the brass' smooth finish un-harmed.
For more jewelry making tips, see our website: www.sandwitchandwarlock.com.