The tarnishing of your brass and bronze jewellery might be accelerated by factors such as oil from the skin and oxygen in the air. Here are some tips on how you can take care of your pieces to keep them shiny as long as possible!
How to take care of your brass and bronze jewellery
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and will naturally tarnish when exposed to oxygen. Some people find the patina of tarnished brass appealing and the tarnish is also a protective layer for the brass. If you want to bring back the shine of the brass you can do so with some common products you may already have at home.
If the tarnish isn’t too strong take about 2 tablespoons of baking soda and add drops of lemon juice – from concentrate is fine – until you have a nice paste. The lemon juice will bubble and fizz as you add, don’t worry it’ll stop after a second or two. Take cotton ball and apply the paste to your piece and rub. Let it sit in the paste for about 30 minutes and then rinse it with water and dry it thoroughly.
If the piece is heavily tarnished or the above doesn’t work, you can place the piece in vinegar and let it soak for 30-60 minutes and then scrub it with a cotton ball. Once clean, rinse it with water. This cleaning method is more aggressive and may leave the piece more “raw” looking – it won’t have as warm of color until the patina rebuilds.
A more sophisticated option will be to use a special jewellery polishing cloth. This cloths contains an agent that leaves an invisible anti-tarnish coating that will prevent re-tarnishing of the piece. A cleaning cloth cleans and removes tarnish on the outer layers of the brass.
Is your brass/bronze piece turning your skin green?
Some people might notice a small green mark on their fingers after they have worn a brass or bronze ring. This common green stain is not harmful, so there is no need to panic, as the reason for this reaction is chemical. It’s due to a combination of the metal and the acids in your skin. Experts say that there are several metals that oxidise with your skin to give you a noticeable green ring around your finger. It is more common in brass and bronze, but even silver and gold metals can cause discoloration.
SHEYN TIP: Avoid the use of lotions on your ring finger if you want to prevent the green-finger effect. Also something as simple as removing rings before washing your hands or before taking a shower can help. Avoid wearing rings in the pool as well, as the chlorine might create this reaction as well