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I have inherited an older western saddle for my daughter. She will be getting it for Christmas. It's in amazingly good shape for 35+ years old and the leather is cleaning up magnificantly. It has silver conchos on it that have become discolored and I'd like to clean them up. I want to clean them up but don't know what to use. My dad and I are afraid that the silver cleaner you would use on a tea set or utensils would damage the leather so I want to know what I can use to polish it without hurting the leather.
 

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thats what I use on the silver............. regular silver polish, just try not to get it on the leather.
 

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What you might try is removing the conchos if they are the ones that screw in and out. That way, you can clean the whole thing without worrying about getting it on the leather. And that is what we used to use on our old show tack, just regular silver cleaner.
 

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I like Mother's Mag and Aluminum Polish. Use a rag for large surfaces, and Q-tips for tight spaces and silver lacing.

If you know that it's sterling, sterling overlay, or Alpaca, or German silver (nickel), then you can polish it without worry. But if it's silver plated, it has a thin layer of silver over either brass or nickel, and you'll scrub off all the silver if you polish too hard.

So for plated, wipe with that liquid tarnish remover that doesn't have any abrasives in it.

For all the others, I like Mother's because it's a cream with a fine abrasive. There is very little liquid in it, so it doesn't splash all over the saddle. It stays where you put it. And the fine abrasive gives a mirror polish.

Alpaca is an alloy that can contain anything from no to almost all silver. Schneiders Saddlery's Billy Royal SSO saddles from the '70s sometimes have pieces marked Alpaca.

I don't take conchos off the saddle. They may break or the screw may break off and be stuck in the tree. I don't know who to get to do that kind of repair. Easier to just leave them on the saddle unless they are loose, anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, my husband is a detailer at heart. He has Mother's in his cleaning kit, so that's a piece of cake. I don't know what kind of silver it is, but it's tarnished like my mom's silver tea set is. I'll have him try it with a q-tip this week and see if it works.
 
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