Copper jewellery is often sealed with a clear coat of lacquer to prevent it from becoming tarnished or corroded. The manufacturer of the jewellery frequently will apply lacquer to prolong the life of the jewellery, but the lacquer can be removed and leave the jewellery in need of a new coat. You need only a few items to clean and lacquer your prized copper jewellery.
Fill the bowl with hot, soapy water and wash the jewellery by gently rubbing it with a soft cloth or your fingers. This will help remove oils from your skin, dirt and other grime.
Mix equal parts of salt, vinegar and flour together until a thick paste is created.
Rub the paste gently along the jewellery using a soft rag. Continue rubbing until the copper is clean, then wash the paste off in the soapy water. Rinse with warm water and let dry.
Lay the jewellery flat or hang in an area with adequate ventilation. Wear gloves when handling the jewellery; skin oils will dirty the copper.
Prepare your lacquer. Shake the can of spray-on lacquer for one minute before use. It is important to shake the can frequently while using the spray-on lacquer. If you are using brush-on lacquer, pour a small amount into a clean bowl.
Apply the lacquer. If you are using spray-on lacquer, mist on in a smooth back-and-forth motion over the jewellery four to five times. Keep the can at least 10 inches from the jewellery at all times while spraying. If you are using brush-on lacquer, apply it to the jewellery in small, smooth strokes. Coat one side first, wait until it dries, then coat the other side. Brush-on lacquer is ideal for copper jewellery with gemstones.
For treasured jewellery, it might be prudent to contact a lacquering professional to complete the task. Copper jewellery also can be dipped into brush-on lacquer and hung to dry. If any corrosion is apparent on the jewellery, try rubbing a solution of hot vinegar and salt over the corroded or tarnished areas until clean.
Read the material safety data sheet for the lacquer before using. Only use lacquer in a well-ventilated area. Spray lacquer should not be used in temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius or above 35 degrees Celsius. Do not use spray lacquer on copper jewellery with gemstones; this will coat the stones and will have a dulling effect.