Cleaning Sølje….



Before Cleaning





After Cleaning

I know many of you have beautiful sølje sitting in drawers and jewelry boxes that are all black and dark and you NEVER wear them and they should look like the one below:

Large all silver solje

They are beautiful pins and ones that many of us have received as gifts from grandmothers and family members but so often they get dirty and then put away and never to be seen again.

They are to be worn on your bunad or festdrakt but they can also be used every day if you wish on a blouse or dress and they should be taken care of as they are a work of art.

Here is what is suggested on the Sando website ( a great source for silver from Norway…this company is quite easy to work with and a have a great assortment of sølje for bunader from various regions. Their shipping is some what reasonable and I find them pretty competitive in pricing (for pricing directly from Norway)

….”Storing your silver:

Put the silver in a brooch-bag or a plastic bag, the goal is to make it airtight. Be careful not to use a rubber band. Sulfur from the rubber band will go through the plastic and make black marks that is very difficult to get rid of again. The silver that is sown on to your Bunad may be covered in clinging plastic.

How to take care of your silver:

This may be quite risky if you don’t know what you are doing. You have to consider the type of Bunad you have, and what kind of silver it is supposed to have. Silver that is sewn onto your Bunad should be picked off before you use anything other than a polish-cloth. This is so that you won’t ruin the fabric in your costume. If it is enough with a polish-cloth you just remove the lint with a lint-brush afterwards. To polish buttons you either get a polish-plate from your goldsmith, or you make one yourself by cutting a piece of cardboard and slide it underneath the buttons. That way you don’t have to worry about lint.

This is safe to do no matter what; Wash your silver in a fat dissolving dishwashing liquid (zalo) with a tiny bit of the detergent Salmiac in it. You could put it in a laundry detergent for hand wash of clothes. Usually these tips are enough to keep your silver as shiny as they are supposed to be. If you need more thorough cleaning one of these methods may fit;

Oxidized (dark) silver: Use a polis cloth. The tops will be shiny, and the patterns will stay dark, as it should be. Do not use any silver cleaning cream or similar, it may remove the dark areas that are supposed to be there.

Old gilded (Dark gold): May be treated like oxidized silver, but the need is rare.

Fair silver: The easy way is to dip it in silver-clean, rinse it under water and dry it off with a towel. Done in 30 seconds. The downside of this method is that the long-term-effect is poor, and that repeated use of this method will fade your silver to a grey-yellow shade. This may be fixed with a “silver cloth” or silver cream. If you use silver cream you should use a nail-brush, or an old toothbrush when you remove the cream again so every crack get cleaned out.

Gilded silver: May be treated like fair silver, but the need will be rarer.

If you have some questions that did not get answered here, or if there is a brooch you can’t find. Use the button “Contact us” and ask! We are happy to answer.”….



Now I learned a different method from my grandmother Hjordis Øiulfstad, she always cleaned her sølje in Ivory soap, just plain old bars of Ivory soap. Nothing fancy, just  the ones you buy at the grocery store etc. She would boil water (that is right, boil) in a heavy pot (such as a club aluminum pot) about 3 or 4 inches of water and then shave off Ivory soap (using a knife) into the boiling water. Then place the pins in the boiling water for about 7 minutes or so. If they are really really dirty you may have to change the water and soap and boil for a longer period of time. Remove the pins from the water and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Once completely rinsed, dry off and then go to the next step.

Step # 2.

I use Wrights Silver polish and a tooth brush. And gently brush each of the “spoons and dangles”  gently as they delicate…..take your time and look for any tarnish that may not have been removed by step # 1.


Wash off and polish with a soft cloth such as an old clean white t-shirt or flannel cloth

Step # 3

Then use a silver polishing cloth (as shown in the photo below)…. again gently polish each of the dangle and spoons this time I use the polishing cloths…..

polishing clothYou can purchase them in various places….or order them off the Internet.

I suggest NEVER using the silver dip as over time it will harm your pins….

It may seem like a long process but well worth it. The pins are so beautiful and most are hand made, something you would want to treasure for a long time and pass down to other family members…

In another blog we will talk about various designs of the pins and how they are made!


One response »

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