Congratulations on your purchase of a one of a kind piece of jewelry! Here is a bit of info on how to care for an clean your copper, bronze, or brass pieces and keep them looking their best.
How to Care for your Copper Jewelry
If your copper jewelry is lacquered, it will not tarnish as easily as non-lacquered copper jewelry does. A clear lacquer has been applied to this piece which will protect from discoloration and tarnish temporarily. Instead, it may become dull and less shiny. To restore shine, you can use a polishing cloth like Sunshine or Pro-Polish pads. No lacquer lasts forever, so keep in mind that after it has worn off natural oils from your skin can temporarily alter the color of your skin in the areas where it touches your skin. If you are concerned about that, the lacquer may be reapplied as needed. There are many sealants and lacquers on the market that will work, but I've found Protectaclear to be the best. You could also apply some colorless nail polish in these areas periodically, though this method does not last very long and can leave a residue over time.
Keep in mind that each person has a unique skin chemistry, and even sealants and lacquers may not be effective for those with very acidic skin. Though unsightly, any skin discoloration is not harmful and washes off with soap and water. In fact, wearing copper against the skin has health benefits and can help alleviate arthritis and joint pain. Below are some highlighted tips to help avoid discoloration:
*Diet can have an big effect on skin Ph. Avoiding red meat, eggs, and junk foods while increasing consumption of leafy green vegetables and fruits like berries can help restore a healthy ph balance.
*Don’t wear your copper pieces all day long. Wearing them for shorter periods of time rather than all day, everyday helps prevent discoloration.
*Don’t use lotions, moisturizers, or perfumes while wearing your jewelry. The chemicals in these products will not only increase the likelihood of greening, but will also increase tarnish and potentially damage stones.
*Remove Jewelry when washing hands, bathing, swimming, cleaning, etc. Moisture is the main cause of greening and tarnish on most metal jewelry(copper, silver, bronze, brass). Pool chemicals, household cleaners, and even shampoos can contain chemicals that can harm gemstones.
*Remove Jewelry when performing sports or other activities that cause perspiration. Remove before going to bed. Similar reasons as above.
*On hot, humid days avoid wearing your copper jewelry outdoors-again it’s that moisture culprit.
*Pieces that have greater contact with skin (i.e. wide band rings, etc) will be more likely to cause discoloration since they don’t allow skin to breathe so they trap moisture underneath.
*Using a barrier-such as a sealant, will help protect from tarnish, patina fading, and skin greening. Examples of sealant options are ProtectaClear, Perm-a Lac, clear nail polish, Jewelry Shield, clear Acrylic lacquers, and Frog Juice.
Cleaning Tips For very dirty pieces- wash with warm water and some mild dishwashing liquid (non bleach variety) or mild soap along with a soft toothbrush. Pat dry with a lint free cloth to avoid water spots. Heavily tarnished pieces are easily cleaned with metal cleaners like PennyBrite, just be careful to avoid using harsh or strong cleaners for pieces with soft gemstones like Opal, Pearl, or Turquoise. Natural products like a baking soda/ water mix, lemon juice, ketchup, and vinegar will clean copper as well but avoid acidic substances around certain stones. Avoid cleaners with solvents as these will remove the lacquer from sealed pieces. Toothpaste should be avoided- it’s abrasiveness will gradually erode metal over time and will get trapped under stones and in small crevices building up into a disgusting crud that is difficult to remove.
Storing Your Copper Jewelry Wipe the piece down with a soft cloth after wearing it and make sure the piece is dry before storing it. Store your copper jewelry in a cool, dry place away from humidity or direct sunlight. Certain gemstones can fade or change color from exposure to heat or direct sunlight. Keep each piece separate it in a well-sealed plastic bag. You can also use anti-tarnish paper or anti tarnish bags.
A lot of my pieces are done using a process called electroforming. What is electroforming, you might ask? Similar to electroplating, where a layer of one metal is plated over another metal, electroforming goes beyond simple metal on metal plating. By using electroconductive paint, an electric current, and copper solution bath, a thick layer of raw copper can be grown on just about any surface, including stones, organic materials, small toys, etc. (think bronzed baby shoes if you are old enough to remember these). The possibilities of what you can coat in metal are endless. The end result is solid, sturdier than the original, well detailed, and unique. I love nature, so some of my favorite things to Electroform are leaves, tree branches, shells, and fossilized sea organisms. I also love to use the technique to set raw gemstones in bezels that cling to every unique curve and angle. While the process is slow-it can take several hours to even days to develop the amount of thickness I want for the piece, I've found the result to be very durable-more so than prong settings that can easily catch on things or break. So, in summary, electroforming is a bit of alchemy combing chemistry, geology, and biology with a bit of creativity! Want to see more of my Electroformed pieces? Check out my events page or FB page @lomostudiodesigns for local festivals/markets I will be attending to see my full collection in person. Want something unique created just for you? Just contact me, I love custom pieces! Have questions? Just ask!