People have been wearing copper jewelry for centuries. If you own any copper jewelry pieces, you know how they can become tarnished and develop a dark, unsightly patina over time.
The key to protecting your copper from discoloration is some simple copper jewelry care– and it is easier than you might think!
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How to Keep Copper Jewelry from Tarnishing?
The best way to keep copper jewelry from tarnishing is to limit their exposure to the elements, particularly air. The air causes oxidation and discoloration on copper, so store your items in an airtight case, bag, or container to keep copper jewelry from tarnishing. Do not expose or wear copper in water if you want to prevent tarnish or patina- and never expose copper to chlorine bleach, as this will cause the copper to turn irreversibly dull and dark.
Want to keep your copper jewelry from tarnishing and turning dark? Keep reading to learn more.
Copper Jewelry Tarnish
Copper experiences a chemical reaction when exposed to air, and over time, this will tarnish and turn the metal dark.
This tarnish- or patina- conceals the natural luster of the copper, so it is common to want to clean and remove this.
You can curb the incident of tarnish by keeping your copper in an airtight place, like a bag or container with a lid, or you can line your jewelry box with anti-tarnish paper that will help keep your pieces shiny and pristine.
Experts recommend that you always clean your jewelry prior to storing them away. In other words, do not store tarnished copper items for prolonged periods of time.
Instead, clean the piece and, ideally seal it with a jeweler-approved polish or wax- but more on that later!
If you want to restore and protect your jewelry pieces, consider visiting your favorite jeweler for polishing cloths and chamois- and even professional ultrasonic cleaning- to maintain your collection.
Plus, a professional will know the best ways to treat and clean vintage or older items that could be vulnerable to damage.
Tips to Prevent Tarnish
It seems that time and air exposure are to blame for tarnish on copper jewelry– but what else can cause your items to discolor?
Well, you should never wear your copper when swimming or bathing- unless you don’t mind the darker, patina that can develop on this metal.
Also, be wary of swimming in pools that could contain chlorine as this will permanently darken and damage your copper right away.
On this same note, remove copper jewelry pieces if you are cleaning with or going to be exposed to bleach or its fumes.
If you want to preserve and protect a special piece of copper jewelry, why not have it professionally sealed?
This sealant will help keep out the elements and curb exposure to environmental factors that can tarnish the copper over time.
Talk to a professional jeweler about sealing your items- which typically involves applying a polish that protects and preserves the finish of what it is applied to.
If you wear the item often, you may find that you need to reapply the sealant at some point later as it can wear off but this waxy finish can be reapplied as often as you need to maintain the luster and beauty of your copper jewelry items.
Frequently Asked Questions About Copper Jewelry Tarnishing
How do you prevent copper from tarnishing?
The best way to prevent your copper items from tarnishing is to have them sealed right away before any patina develops. Talk to a jeweler about sealing your pieces- or purchase special copper wax and polish to curb tarnish.
How do you protect copper from patina?
Seal your copper jewelry to prevent a patina from developing on surfaces that are exposed to air. Also, keep your copper jewelry items in an airtight bag or case to limit exposure to air and the elements when they are not being worn- this will help prevent tarnishing. Buff and use special copper polish to restore the copper’s original luster and shine.
What is the best way to clean copper jewelry?
If the copper jewelry does not contain gemstones, try soaking it in white vinegar for 20 minutes, and buff any stubborn stains or tarnish with a bit of table salt on a soft cloth. Rinse the item well and wipe with a soft chamois cloth until fully dry.
Can you really clean copper with ketchup?
Since ketchup contains tomatoes, which are very acidic, you can use it to remove tarnish spots from copper surfaces. Gently rub the ketchup onto the copper item with a soft cloth, soft bristled toothbrush, or your finger- make sure to rinse well and dry thoroughly after for a gleaming copper surface.
What about Worcestershire sauce for cleaning copper?
What about Worcestershire sauce for cleaning copper?
Worcestershire sauce is another DIY way to restore the look of your copper pots, pans, and jewelry. Use a soft cloth dampened with the Worcestershire sauce and rub the tarnished areas of the copper gently. Rinse with water and allow the item to fully dry.
Conclusion on How to Keep Copper Jewelry from Tarnishing
If you love the look and luster of real copper jewelry, use these tips to prevent tarnish from impacting its appearance.
Be careful when attempting DIY cleaning methods with your jewelry items if they contain gemstones- as the acidity used in these techniques can severely damage stones and gems.
Consider having your favorite copper pieces sealed by a professional jeweler to ensure they last and look their best for years and years to come.