Monday, March 30, 2009

Copper Jewelry

We have been working with copper to make necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. Copper jewelry tarnishes very quickly on some individuals. Information on the internet suggested that soaking copper jewelry in tomato juice would brighten it again. Instead, I tried soaking in white vinegar also an acid. The tarnish was removed, but the necklace looked dull. After rubbing it with salt and rinsing thoroughly, it looked brighter but was not restored to previous luster. Experimenting again, I put the necklace in a tumbler and it was brightened. Not many people have a tumbler so this is not a feasible solution. The best solution seems to be to use a metal polish or a polishing cloth being careful to avoid the gemstones.

You should realize that if you find that silver jewelry tarnishes (turns black) very quickly when you wear it, then copper jewelry will tarnish much more quickly. The copper content of the silver combines with the oxygen in the air to form tarnish (black). I found that copper tarnishes within an hour or so when worn against sweaty skin in the summer time.
We debated using a coating over copper jewelry, but decided that the coating would wear through eventually making the jewelry appearance unacceptable. Many folks like the tarnished look of aged copper. I have seen some very attractive pieces that were deliberately aged and polished for highlights giving an antique look.

Consider the damage of the chemicals to the stones in copper jewelry. The treatments suggested above (except the polishing cloth and possibly metal polish) are feasible to use with jewelry having no gemstones.

This information should be considered when evaluating the amount of your time or money to invest when making or purchasing copper jewelry.

Private Stock Jewelry Studio sent us this comment.
"I clean all my copper jewelry in my tumbler, it is amazing!! I also offer my customers free cleaning. The copper is so bright it looks like rose gold!!"

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