To Polish Or Not To Polish?
A frequent topic of conversation surrounding badges, sometimes resulting from an inspection or maybe as part of rookie indoctrination. Through the years we have found many different opinions and procedures for polishing. Question is, should you really be polishing at all?
To answer this question some knowledge of your badge finish is necessary. The Ed Jones Co. crafts two classifications of badges: precious metal and non-precious metal. The former is a hallmark of our company and what we are known nation wide for.
The precious metal finishes include: Sterling Silver, 10 Karat Gold Filled and solid 14 Karat Gold. These badges are NOT lacquered and require periodic polishing. However, the only appropriate compound for polishing is a non-abrasive silver or jewelry polish such as Wrights brand Silver Polish.
NEVER use polishing compounds such as Brasso, Chromo, Semi-Chrome, Flitz, or others that contain harsh chemicals or abrasives (such as pumice). These will literally erode the base metal, taking off a fine layer with each polishing. The badge will get thinner and thinner, losing detail as it goes while leaving the hard glass letters standing higher than the surrounding metal.
The non-precious metal finishes include: Gold Permatone, Gold Klad, German Silver and High Chrome. These badges ARE lacquered and therefore DO NOT require polishing. Polish will only remove the protective lacquer barrier that prevents tarnish. Merely wash the badge with mild soap and water and towel dry with a soft cloth to remove soiling.
If the badge starts to tarnish it means the lacquered finish has been worn off (or polished off, or in some cases intentionally boiled off). A well cared for badge will last a lifetime however the lacquer will not. It will wear off all badges over a period of time depending on use. A heavy coat or seat belt will accelerate this wear. Please bring your badge by or mail it to us for refinishing if it becomes too unsightly.
Often a center seal is the first area that shows signs of missing lacquer. The high spots on a gold colored seal start to turn brown. Polishing the seal brings back the gold color only to find it turning again in no time. Many have reported that a thin coating of clear fingernail polish does the trick to keep air (the tarnish culprit) off the copper based alloy.
We hope this primer on badge care helps clarify some folklore of the past. Please don't hesitate to contact the Ed Jones Co. if you have any questions about your badge finish.