If you know me, you know I love working with ancient bronze. The rich, warm color is so enchanting and looks good on just about everybody! Bronze jewelry is more durable and affordable than gold, and can last a lifetime when cared for properly.
But did you know high-quality bronze can still turn some people's skin that greenish color? Sounds strange, but it’s true! Bronze is an alloy that contains copper, which can oxidize when combined with moisture, creating patina. This reaction creates that green tint of copper carbonate on your skin after wearing a piece for awhile.
This discoloration happens most often with rings, due to the close proximity of skin to the bronze. Bracelets and necklaces containing bronze are usually worn loose enough to avoid this happening, especially if necklaces are worn outside clothes.
Easy ways to prevent skin discoloration from bronze jewelry:
- Use clear nail polish to paint the inside of the bronze ring (or pendant) to prevent direct contact with the skin. Repeat as time goes on!
- A more permanent version of the nail polish method is spraying the piece with clear acrylic lacquer - this will create a glossy coating that protects against UV rays, moisture, and tarnishing. There a many jewelry-safe lacquers, like ProtectaClear
- An alternative solution is car wax! This also creates a transparent, protective layer on the piece. Apply and buff the jewelry according to the wax's instructions.
If your bronze gets tarnished:
- Use a polishing cloth regularly to gently remove any oils and residues.
- Regular mild soap and water is the simplest way to get that shine back! Just be sure to dry completely using a soft cloth. A bit of rubbing alcohol is also an easy way to get rid of dirt and residue!
- For an easy "at home" cleanser, create a simple paste using baking soda and lemon juice. After washing and drying the jewelry, rub the paste on and let sit for a few minutes. Rinse and dry! If you don't have lemon juice or baking soda, you can create a similar cleaning paste from flour, a bit of salt, and vinegar.
Oxygen and moisture speeds up tarnishing, so putting away your jewelry after you're done wearing it is always a good idea. Store jewelry in plastic baggies or cloth satchels to keep pieces in their best condition!
So there you go! Utilize these tips and tricks to keep your bronze jewelry looking like new. I adore ancient bronze and will continue dreaming up new ways to design and wear this gorgeous metal.
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