Leather v. Silver

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I don’t usually carry a pencil in my Graf von Faber-Castell leather writing case—a ballpoint or a fountain pen normally sits there. But I recently placed my GvF-C pencil and extender in the pen loop. The extender is silver-plated, and I polish it frequently. But ten days later, I took out the pencil and discovered this:

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You can see the squared texture of the leather on the extender, from what I’m guessing was some sort of chemical reaction.

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Though it may appear in the photographs that the metal surface is flaking off that’s not the case. A polishing cloth didn’t help much so it may require more aggressive treatment; I need to do some research first.

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7 Responses to Leather v. Silver

  1. That’s awful. I hope you can get it back in shape.

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  2. Betsy Eisner says:

    I’d get in touch with Faber Castell.

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  3. Sola says:

    gasp
    I didn’t know leather could do that to silver. Do tell us if you were able to fix it!

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  4. Sean says:

    There is no residue or anything left on the leather pen loop, so I’m guessing it’s just an intense tarnish. It would really surprise me if it were permanent.

    Then again I predicted the iPod would flop, so, listen to me at your own peril.

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  5. Gunther says:

    Oh — this looks really bad. I am sorry to hear about that damage! One one hand I am surprised to hear that both items are from Faber-Castell and their combination obviously hasn’t been tested but on their other hand there may be too many combinations to test (let alone the many chemicals which are used). I hope Faber-Castell can come up with a solution!

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  6. Sapphire says:

    Some tanning products contain sulphur compounds which are death to silver. I have seen pen cases that ruin silver pens. One option might be to go to a jeweller and have the extender replated. Chemicals in rubber can have the same effect so never handle silver articles with rubber gloves and never wrap them with rubber bands. You’d think a pen maker like Faber-Castell would know not to use sulphur tanned leather on an item that would likely hold a silver pen or pencil.

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    • Sean says:

      Yes, I should have mentioned that I used the Tarn-x sparingly and diluted (and reluctantly), having learned the hard way how caustic and damaging it can be.

      There’s something strange about this incident because the fountain pen I usually keep in there is from the same company and is silver-plated as well and nothing has happened to it. So there’s just something different about the pencil lengthener.

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