To restore the intrinsic visual appeal, items are polished through a tumbling process similar to rock polishing. This is a multi-step process first involving the use of a glass cutting agent that removes the thin surface layer of glass that has is damaged. Next, a polishing oxide such as cerium is used to restore the luster of the glass. Cerium is commonly used to polish eyeglasses and lens for viewing devices such as microscopes or telescopes. In the circumstance of moderate to heavily etched items, this process may reduce the definition of embossing on items. Additionally, over polishing may occur causing items to look too “shiny”. For these and other reasons, valuable and/or rare items should only be entrusted to experienced glass polishers. For you DIY folks, download a copy of the bottle polishing primer I wrote for the Antique Bottle and Glass Collector.
About Tanning (Purpling)
The Spa also offers tanning services for your clear glass bottles and jars. Clear items blown between 1880 and 1915 will turn to a light pink or lavender to moderately amethyst when exposed to ultra-violet light depending on the amount of manganese in the glass. This process occurs naturally in the sun or can be accelerated through the use of ultra-violet lights or x-rays. The spa uses a 'purpling' box to turn items amethyst. This process takes four to eight weeks and does not involve the extreme color changes brought on by nuking or x-raying items.
Prices are for polishing and tanning only and do not include shipping to and from New Mexico. Prices are set based on the size and shape of the items as these factors determine the amount of resource necessary to complete the work. Items should be sent to Arizona via Priority Mail and include insurance for packages over $50. The Spa recommends to save on shipping to send multiple items together or consider meeting Cactus Joe at a local bottle show and handing off the items in person.
The Spa will invoice you for the cost of services plus return postage when items are completed.