All things require care, full stop. The degree of care may vary depending on a variety of factors but to get the most out of our items we need to care for them. Even pieces of jewelry made of solid gold require care, that care looks different for the steps you’d take to maintain sterling silver, bronze or brass jewelry.
Most metals are an alloy containing different types of metal. 18k gold is an alloy which in addition to 75% gold also contains copper and sterling silver. Where as bronze is an alloy comprised of copper and tin.
Many folks I speak with express concern when it comes to items made with brass and bronze, there’s real worry about the oxidation process. Oxidation happens when metals (brass/bronze/sterling silver) are exposed to moisture in the air or through water causing the formation of a patina. When the metal reacts with our sweat and body oils it creates copper chelates which is what sometimes causes the green discoloration. Below I’ll share a few diferent ways to maintain your jewelry that contains a higher percentage of base metals.
To avoid having to continually deep clean your jewelry storing it in a cool dry place will slow down the oxidation process for sterling silver, brass and bronze and even 14k gold-fill.
Storing your jewelry away from the bathroom and removing it whe applying oils and lotions also helps ensure the longevity of your pieces.
Sunshine polishing cloths are a great way to manage oxidation on uncoated brass and bronze. Wiping down your jewelry after each wear will help maintain its shine and lessen the elbow grease needed to clean your jewelry. Watch a previous video where I demonstrate how to clean your brass pieces with a polishing cloth.
If you’ve neglected your bronze or brass jewelry for some time and the oxidation has set in another way to remove patina is by creating a paste with household materials. This method works best with jewelry items that do not contain sensitive gemstones like selenite, kyanite or tourmaline.
You’ll want to start with clean jewelry, so use mild soap and warm water to wash then thoroughly dry your pieces. Afterwards you’ll apply a paste - you can use either a toothbrush or soft rag for application- created with
1 tbsp Salt
½ cup distilled vinegar
Flour (until paste is formed)
Let this paste sit on the jewelry for 45 minutes. Rinse and dry with a soft rag.
Alternatively combine lemon juice and baking soda until a paste forms and apply to jewelry for 30 minutes.
At any point in time you can ship your jewelry in for a cleaning. Just send an email to email@example.com.
The first polishing cloth is on me but others are available for purchase here.