how do you remove the "yellow" from 1980's clear coated jewelry ?


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The yellow is probably a varnish that was applied to protect the metals from the elements.. I would try using some mineral spirits and a tooth brush. soak them for a while in a little dish.. they should come out nice and clean of the varnish. However, you will quickly see them oxidize if you don't protect the metals right away.

If it is painted as well as the "varnish" then you would likely remove the paint at the same time so be cautious. If this piece has any real keepsake value I would do anything except clean it with mild soap and water with a toothbrush.
HTH
canucksgirl5 years ago
You're going to have to be a little more specific about what you mean, but if I understand, you have some jewelry where the coating has yellowed? If that's the case, this is due to a poor quality substance that has discolored and turned yellow. How to remove it will depend a lot on what the jewelry looks like and what its made of...
SyndeeB (author)  canucksgirl5 years ago
It is a pair of 101 Dalmatian earrings. The base and posts are metal and painted with acrylic (?) then clear coated.
They are usually coated quite heavily with a clear resin, and unfortunately they can discolor over time (especially if the coating was a poor quality). If you try to remove the coating, you'll likely damage the paint and therefor the earrings themselves. You're better off just leaving them as is, if a good cleaning does not improve their appearance. The discoloration will be all the way through the resin.
SyndeeB (author)  canucksgirl5 years ago
What do you suggest I clean them with?
I would start off by using a toothbrush and some toothpaste, preferably a kind with baking soda and/or a teeth bleaching agent. You could also try some Denture cleaning tablets (following the directions on the package). If neither of those methods remove the discoloration, then the yellowing has probably gone most of the way, if not all of the way through the clear coat.

You could carefully try a polishing bit with a Dremel type tool to remove minute amounts of the clear coat as it polishes to see if that improves the appearance. I would NOT recommend using any harsh solvents as they are likely to destroy the color underneath if they are strong enough to dissolve the clear coat.

If the earrings you have are similar to an old Minnie Mouse pendant I have, the "paint" is actually colored pieces (of acrylic, I think), that are set into the design and covered with the clear coating. If you are extremely careful with a sanding type tool you may be able to slowly remove the outer clear coat until you reach the "paint" to confirm how the jewelry was constructed. If it is pieces of acrylic, they can easily be reset (if necessary) and recovered with a "non-yellowing" coating, if you are successful in removing the original coat.

The problem is, there isn't a "typical" method to doing something like this. If you're not comfortable doing it yourself, you could talk to some jewelry makers near where you live. They should have a number of tools at their disposal and should be able to tell you a price and whether they can "restore" the earrings. If you take that route, then ensure you have good photographs of your jewelry before, and have a clearly worded contract with the jeweler in case anything goes wrong.
lemonie SyndeeB5 years ago
Hmm, I don't think you can, something that is part of the finish is yellow, and if you remove that the finish goes with it.

L
+1
You'l wonder where the yellow went when you brush with Pepso-dent ;-)
I'm going to suggest a paint stripper.