How to Care For Your Handmade Copper Jewelry

Published: 10th August 2009
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One of the easiest ways to keep your handmade copper jewelry bright is to place it in Ziploc bags with anti-tarnish pads. Be sure to only store clean and moisture free jewelry, otherwise you will accellerate tarnishing. Higher-end handmade copper jewelry is usually treated with a protective clear-coat varnish or protectant to resist tarnish. This coating usually wears off over time, especially if the jewelry is in direct contact with skin, such as rings, bracelets, necklaces, and cuffs. Copper earrings usually remain shiny the longest.It's surprisingly easy to care for handmade copper jewelry once the protective coating wears off, just as it is for caring for Sterling Silver jewelry. The only kind of metal that won't tarnish, but is way too soft for most jewelry applications, are 24K Gold or Fine Silver. Copper acts as an oxidation catalyst, but due to its strength, is commonly alloyed with most metals.



One of the simplest ways to bring back shine to your handmade copper jewelry is by using a jewelry polishing cloth that can be purchased at most local drugstores or from your local jeweller. A jewelry cloth (commonly referred to as a rogue cloth) is well worth having, since it can last for years. For more intricate pieces, take your jewelry to your local jeweler and have it steam or ultrasonically cleaned. If the piece is set with gemstones, don't attempt to clean the piece yourself, or you could damage the piece and reduce the value. Quite a few gemstones can be easily damaged by using an ultrasonic cleaner, so you might save a few dollars by cleaning your jewelry yourself, but you might end up with a worthless piece. Take your jewelry to a professional when in doubt. Touch base with the artist you bought your handmade copper jewelry from. Most artists will clean their own work for a nominal fee, or sometimes even for free.



Here are some easy tips if you are short on time and need a quick and easy cleaning solution (be sure not to use these on copper jewelry with pearls or gemstones):



*Balsamic, White, or Apple Cider Vinegar - Set the jewelry in a plastic or glass container. Make sure you don't use metal. Cover the item completely with vinegar. Let stand four about 10-15 minutes. Rinse under warm water, dry off, and your finished!



* Lemon or Lime Juice - Follow the instructions for vinegar as detailed above and throw in a pinch of salt to speed up the reaction.



* Worcestershire Sauce or Ketchup - Apply it with a toothbrush or soft cloth, then rinse thoroughly. Try not to get any ketchup or worcestershie sauce on your gemstones, as they should not be subject to any chemical cleaners.



John S. Brana's collections of distinctive copper jewelry include beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces designed to set the wearer apart from the crowd. Whether classic or contemporary, each piece is unique, meticulously handcrafted, and made from top-quality copper.

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