Copper and brass jewelry are among the most dependable jewelry you can have in your jewelry organizer. They also look naturally vintage no matter their actual age, so you have that going for you if you invest in them.
Plus, they’re not on the pricey side, so you can buy more copper or brass jewelry if you want to start building a sizeable and admirable collection, however, as you continue using and wearing.
How to Clean Copper Jewelry?
Copper is a versatile and durable metal that’s been used since the dawn of human civilization. It existed as a practical and ornamental metal since before Jesus Christ was born, and it is still being extracted today for many, many uses including jewelry. Copper is a highly reactive metal, and freely-floating sulfides in the air commonly tarnish it.
Tarnished copper often takes many different colors, from light green to blue-green. Some people intentionally leave the copper patina to add a bit of texture and variety to their jewelry. The patina that you see on copper jewelry (like copper bangles and necklaces) is actually corrosion taking place at the surface of the jewelry.
Seal it First
While some people like having different colors on their copper jewelry, we have to emphasize that it is not a desirable development and is a sign that your copper jewelry is taking damage.
It is a good idea for copperware and copper jewelry to be sealed properly with wax. In modern times, this process is done through a commercial sealing product or flawless wax application on copper ornaments, jewelry, and wares.
What’s interesting about the wax sealing method is it does prevent corrosion or patina from forming. As time passes, the wax sealant eventually accumulates dirt, and it ages naturally, causing the copper to look dull eventually.
There are several ways to get your copper jewelry and copperware sealed. Many copper jewelry has already come sealed from the jeweler, so if you need a little retouching, you can bring them back to the store where you bought them for resealing.
If this is not possible, what we can suggest is you purchase any of the following: car wax, copper sealer (commercial), or nail polish. Yes, nail polish can be used on lacquer copper items. While no method is ever perfect in sequestering tarnish, any of these three will surely reduce the chances of staining and patina.
Then Clean It
Let’s say that you have a sealed copper item, and it still developed a patina over time. This is perfectly normal, but now you need to take care of the signs of corrosion. Here are some methods that work great on copper:
Salt and Lemon
Salt and lemon go well with shots – and cleaning coper, too. This is the simplest method, and it works with most levels of corrosion. Slice a lemon in half and squeeze some juice on the copper item that you want to clean.
Sprinkle some rock salt on top, ensuring you have a good ratio going for the solution you’re making. Grab a piece of clean cloth and rub away the patina. When you feel that the solution has been spent, squeeze some more lemon juice and add some salt before rubbing again.
Lemon and Baking Soda
Baking soda is one of the most effetive cleaning agents ever. Combine equal portions of baking soda and freshly squeeze lemon juice on a small plate and create a paste. If the paste is too runny or doesn’t have the consistency of paste, try adding more baking soda.
Now gather a quantity of the resulting paste and rub it on the copper item you want to clean. This solution works best for copperware that has a lot of crevices, nooks, and crannies. Use a clean cloth to rub away the tarnish. Just mix more paste when you need to.
How to Clean Brass Jewelry?
Brass is related to copper. It is a mixture or alloy of zinc and copper, and thus, it possesses the characteristics of the precious metal. Just like copper, brass is used for a variety of applications, including musical instruments and jewelry. But how can you clean it? Here are some ways:
This is the first method of cleaning brass jewelry and other brass items. Create a solution comprised of lukewarm water and some gentle soap. A soft-bristled toothbrush may be used to get into crannies that a regular cloth can’t reach. Keep rubbing and scrubbing until the grime disappears. Wipe down with a dry cloth and air-dry further until completely dry.
Worcestershire Sauce & Ketchup
These sauces are great on food and in cleaning brass jewelry. Create a solution made of equal parts of the two sauces. Spread the paste over the brass jewelry and let the solution sit for just a minute. There’s no need to rub the solution, but you may do so if the brass jewelry is extra-grimy, you may do so. Rinse off the cleaning solution and pat dry.
Lemon Slice & Salt
Instead of squeezing lemon juice on the brass jewelry, put some rock salt on the surface of a lemon slice and use the slice to clean. Just keep rubbing until the grime begins to come off of the brass jewelry. Use the open side of the slice of fruit and not the skin. The skin isn’t effective for cleaning anything. It’s the acidic pulp of the lemon that works to remove the grime and patina. If some of the grime doesn’t come off, you can use an old toothbrush. Let the toothbrush do the work, don’t rub the surface of the brass jewelry too hard.
In case the first soaking solution doesn’t work, we have another backup solution. Combine one teaspoon of salt, half a cup of white vinegar, and a bit of flour to turn the two into a paste. Use this coat, the brass jewelry. Allow the paste to lift the grime and patina for about ten minutes. Rinse the brass jewelry with some warm water afterward.