Polishing The Silver

How To Clean Flatware - Homemade Silver Polish Aluminum Foil perSilver spoons via Pets Show

I did something new the other day. I have never lived amongst silver (unless you count foil chocolate wrappers on the couch) and so this particular morning was my very first spent polishing some beautiful antique pieces in the Florentine villa I call home. Sugar bowls, vegetable service platters and Persian teapots all became part of my education.

It was strangely satisfying. Turning that dull, burnished metal into a glowing, warm, alive thing required a measure of strength, yet a delicate touch. In the still silence, as I rubbed a soft cloth over smooth surfaces, I became keenly aware of why ‘polishing the knob’ is such perfect sexual slang.

Polishing requires a rhythmic motion. Nothing aggressive about it, you must love the silver you are working on; treat it with respect. It is fragile, yet needs slight, even pressure to produce the best results. The form of the silver is often irregular, asymmetrical, and your fingers must navigate around bends, ridges and crevices to bring it to peak condition. Under a skilful pair of hands, it becomes warm. Each piece is unique in thickness, fragility, form and filigree; however they are all made of the same stuff. Silver, that bright, hard metal — a beautiful stirring counterpoint to the molten warmth of gold.

Sitting back, spent, I surveyed the finished collection in front of me on the table. I felt a deep satisfaction in achieving that glow with only intuition and the warmth of my hands.

I have to say, I did a pretty good job.

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