I love the natural patina that happens with time and wear. If this is your preference as well, do nothing but wear it! The textured surface will have brighter high spots and darker low spots. The raised parts will get shiny with wear and the low spots will naturally darken. This truly makes the piece unique and your own.
Many of my pieces are treated with a liver of sulfur patina and sealed with a protective wax. Here I am cleaning up after applying the patina.
I recommend a re-seal every few months, depending on the amount of wear. BEWARE! If you clean the piece with any of the methods below, you may permanently remove the patina.
The best method to keep your handmade copper jewelry nice and shiny, is to store it in a re-seal-able plastic bag or jewelry case with anti-tarnish paper. Make sure your jewelry is clean and moisture free before storing.
When you receive my copper jewelry, the piece has been initially treated with a protective wax coating to provide you with the easiest care possible. With extended wear, however, the coating will eventually wear off (especially on surfaces that are in direct contact with the skin – rings, bracelets, necklaces). Once this occurs, it is surprisingly easy to care for copper jewelry, just as it is for sterling silver or gold jewelry.
A good point to remember is that copper is the catalyst that speeds up oxidation/tarnish in precious metals, so only 24K Gold and Fine Silver will not tarnish, since they are not alloyed with copper.
The best way to bring back luster to any piece of jewelry is to use a jewelry polishing cloth that can be easily purchased at most jewelry stores, online, and at many drugstores. A jewelry polishing cloth can last for years. After cleaning you can re-seal your piece with any micro-crystalline wax. I recommend a paste car wax like Mother’s Car Wax as it is readily available.
If you find yourself in a pinch for time, here are a few copper cleaning tips (do not use with gemstones or pearl set jewelry). You can use any of these acid based household products:
VINEGAR – (White, Apple Cider, Wine, Balsamic) Place the item in a glass or plastic container (not metal). Pour enough vinegar until it completely covers the piece. Let stand four about 10-15 minutes. Rinse. Dry. Done!
LEMON OR LIME JUICE – Follow the directions used above for vinegar…add a dash of salt.
KETCHUP – Apply it with a toothbrush or soft cloth, let it sit for a bit, then rinse thoroughly. Avoid getting ketchup on gemstones that should not be used with chemical cleaners.
I will happily clean and re-seal any of my creations for you at no cost! Just pop by and give me 15 minutes or so to get the job done!