Polished flute crowns, such as those in silver and bronze, are a joy to own. As with any jewellery item, you need to consider how best to look after them.
Handle them just like any other item of precious jewellery and with the same care you would the rest of your flute. I've put a lot of effort into making the best item that I can, and preparing it with care. You will receive it in the optimum condition and level of polish that I can produce and it is natural that, over time, your handling of it in everyday use will add tiny scratches and blemishes.
Over time, some metals such as silver and bronze will naturally tarnish and loose a little of their glossy shine. I personally enjoy the slowly changing hue of bronze, but if you like you can keep them shiny as new.
- You want to polish only when the item is clean. If you polish the item when dirty, you may inadvertently rub hard dirt/grit onto it and make scratches.
- Rinse it under warm soapy water, and let the rinsing remove dirt
- Dry the item carefully, try to avoid rubbing it with a cloth. Blow drying is perfect. if you do use a cloth, make sure its a cloth designed for fine jewellery such as polished silver.
- To bring the item back to a glossy shine you have a few options;
- Buff up the dried item using a special silver polish and suitable cloth (such as a soft lint-free microfibre cloth) - following the instructions on the polish. This will only take a few seconds. Clean the item again afterwards.
- Dip the item in a specialist jewellery cleaner such as Goddards Jewellery Cleaner or Connoisseurs Precious Jewellery Cleaner. Follow their instructions. Be really careful not to dip it for longer than stated in the instructions (with some cleaners this takes as little as 30s), and there is usually no need to rub with a brush or cloth unless the tarnish is severe.
Alternatively, and for a professional finish, ask your flute repair shop to buff the crown when you get your next COA/Service. It will only take them a few seconds using the professional equipment in their workshop, and they are likely going to clean/buff other parts of your flute already.
Unfortunately, accidents happen. If you drop it, you may sadly scratch your flute crown depending on what kind of the surface it lands on.
Make sure that the crown is a firm fit into the headjoint, so that it does not fall out in normal use. It should not move/fall when the headjoint is turned upside down for example.
Jewellers, and your local flute repair shop, can usually remove scratches and re-polish for you very quickly. This is usually only easy if the item is unplated. Gold and rhodium plated crows, if deeply scratched, take a lot more work to restore.
Gold/Rhodium plated flute crowns will barely tarnish over time, though if you handle them roughly or regularly for many years, you may rub through the plating. This is less likely with flute crowns than most jewellery, as you won't normally handle your flute crown every day.
If you do scratch through or rub off the plating is it not necessarily a big problem. Most jewellers will be able to restore the item for you, and you might find you have a plating company nearby who can add a plating of your choice. If in doubt, you are always welcome to contact me and I can help find the best solution.