Have you ever thought of how the Statue of Liberty looked before she was green? She was created in France in the 1880’s with an exterior of untreated copper! Over time, and with exposure to the elements, she has turned to the green that we are familiar with today. This is the natural course for copper, and anyone with a jar full of pennies can see the stages of this process.
I have read quite a bit from people who are concerned about the natural patina of copper and how to prevent and remove it.
So, how do you protect your jewelry from this fate?
- One of the things that accelerates oxidation is the oils from your skin, so limit the time that you wear your copper jewelry. ie. Don’t wear it overnight
- Wipe the piece down with a soft cloth. (never use anything abrasive, as it will scratch up the copper!)
- Use mild soap and water to clean it, make sure that it is completely dry before storing. Store in a jewelry case or, even better, an air-tight container or zip-lock bag.
- If you wish to remove the patina from your jewelry – and you may not, some people love the aged look of copper! – there are several items that you may already have in your kitchen to remove
A solution of ½ cup lemon juice & 1 tablespoon of baking soda
· Vinegar & Salt
I have also read that you can also use very fine steel wool (#0000) to polish off the patina, but other sources prefer the use of a soft cloth paired with beeswax. If you are working with ear wires or a piece with small components like jump rings or wrapped wire hoops, clean the piece carefully to prevent bending or crushing. Copper wire has been hardened, but it is still a very soft metal and should be handled with care.
NOTE: Pearls, painted beads and certain stones should not be soaked in acidic solutions, so please use caution when cleaning your copper jewelry.
Enjoy your copper jewelry, whether you love the patina look, or prefer the brand new shiny penny look.
Which do you prefer?