Wednesday, December 29, 2010

How to remove silver or gold foil from vintage cabochons

When using vintage cabochons or glass flat backs the gold/silver foil on the back may cause the adhesive to  crack the gold/silver foil on the back and my ruin your project. Or if you buy vintage cabochons/flat backs the the protective foil in the back is chipping you can do something about it. 

Here’s an easy way to remove the foil backing! Make a solution of ordinary table salt and white vinegar. 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. If the foil comes off, then the stones have soaked long enough in the solution, if not than you may need another hour or so. I like to use a tiny wire mesh strainer, I pour the solution in the strainer and then rub the rhinestone jewels against the mesh. This process seems to flow faster than rubbing the stones against the salt and dish. 

Side note: removing the foil backing may change the color of your glass jewel. In some cases, the foil backing provides the color of the rhinestone, I would recommend testing one rhinestone first to make sure that's the color you want.   I removed the gold foil from the tiny heart glass cabochons, the crystal turned into clear glass, the siam ruby turned in to a cranberry red color, and the topaz stayed the same. I love the clear glass hearts. 

The first photo shows the glass cabs without foil and the second photo shows the cabs with the foil. 


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