Oct 08 2010

Cleaning your Copper Jewelry

Published by at 4:01 pm under amy's head,crafty,jewelry

Yesterday, someone purchased this lovely copper byzantine romanov bracelet from my Etsy shop. It was one of my (rare) one of a kind pieces, and also was one of the first chainmaille pieces I made. I must say, I’m quite attached to it and a tear almost came to my eye when I sent it off into the postal system! An entirely different feeling from seeing it languish at craft shows wondering, “Why doesn’t anyone else love it as I do?” — see, I’m fickle and just can’t be pleased, Regardless, I’m sure it will be cherished by it’s lucky new owner!

This is the bracelet – I named it Autumn Splendor. It really is “micro” chainmaille, as the rings used are quite tiny – 20 gauge wire, wrapped around a 2.75mm mandrel, and then precision cut with my saw. The entire piece is really sweet and dainty, especially with the little swarovski crystals I used to compliment the copper colors.

Before packing it up, I checked it over carefully – I do this to every piece to make sure nothing escaped my notice when it was made – but especially for this piece, as it is made up of very tiny jump rings, and has been rattling around in the box I use to transport chainmaille pieces to and from classes (I like to show all the possibilities of chainmaille to my students!)

It had stood up remarkably well, and a lovely patina had developed over the piece. It had turned to an antique caramel color, which some find very beautiful. However, my customer had not held it in her hands when she purchased it — she had looked at it’s picture, which was taken when it was shiny and new orangey copper, not patinaed copper! I didn’t want her to receive anything less than what she expected when she purchased, of course!

So I took the piece, along with a copper Celtic Visions bracelet which had also darkened up considerably, and polished it up. It’s very easy to do, so I thought I’d share.

Take a mason jar and fill it about half full with white vinegar or lemon juice (bottled/ non-fresh/ concentrate is fine). Add about a tablespoon of salt. Drop your copper jewelry in and close tight. (Have you ever heard of half a lemon, dipped in salt, to clean the bottom of copper pots? It’s the exact same concept!)

Swish it around for a few minutes.

Remove, rinse well, dry, and voila! Gorgeous new copper.

I did this in my tumbler instead of in a jar, which has stainless steel shot in it which burnishes the jewelry as well. It also does the job much quicker. I rinsed out my barrel well, added water as I normally would, and then added a hefty dose of vinegar and dropped in the jewelry. I skipped the salt as I suspected the stainless steel shot burnishing action would do the job just fine.

Here are the two bracelets before and after:

Sorry it’s so blurry — But I think you can still see quite a difference between the before and after.

I popped the customer’s bracelet into the mail, and the Celtic Visions piece I slipped on my own wrist, next to the full persian sterling silver chainmaille bracelet I’ve been wearing non-stop lately.

The glow of the copper comes through much better in this photo. They are both lovely, don’t you think?

Oh, I should mention — exPress-O is currently running a $50 gift certificate for raine studios jewelry! She said such nice things about my jewelry, and my head is swelling horribly whenever I glance at the comments! Hop on over, become a “follower” of her blog, post a comment of your favorite piece of raine studios jewelry, and you’ll be entered to win.

You can also get a code for 15% off jewelry for new customers (only accepted at my http://rainestudios.net shop) when you join my mailing list.

Have a great weekend! I’ll be in setting up my booth in Front Royal at the Festival of Leaves tomorrow, if you’re in the area!


One response so far

One Response to “Cleaning your Copper Jewelry”

  1. Peggy Garnetteon 10 Oct 2010 at 7:00 am

    Thank you for the information. Your bracelets are exquisite. I can appreciate the amount of work you have invested in your creations.