Copper, which is one of the least expensive metals used in jewellery making, is also a little difficult to keep looking new. Copper jewellery often oxidises, or tarnishes, by turning green. This is usually due to age or environment, but can also happen in reaction to a person's body chemistry. Some people can wear unsealed copper with no ill effects, while others may experience copper oxidation after wearing a copper jewellery piece for a single day. To avoid oxidation and keep copper looking new, the copper must be sealed.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 237 ml (1 cup) lemon juice
- 1 tbsp salt
- Copper jewellery
- Baking soda
- Clear lacquer
- Latex gloves
Create a cleaning solution to remove all oils from the surface of the copper jewellery. Mix 1 tbsp of salt into wheel brace of lemon juice and let the salt dissolve. Pour the mixture into a bowl.
Put the copper jewellery into the lemon juice solution for a brief moment, then rinse it off with water.
Rub a small amount of baking soda all over the surface of the copper to neutralise the acid from the lemon juice solution. Rinse the baking soda off the jewellery.
Choose a clear lacquer. You can use a simple art product like Krylon Crystal Clear spray, or you can use a metal sealant like Everbrite Protective Coating.
Lay out your copper jewellery piece on a protected work surface in a well-ventilated room or outdoors.
Coat one side of the copper jewellery with your chosen lacquer. If you are using a spray lacquer, shake the can well before use and apply the spray in a smooth back-and-forth motion. If you are using a brush-on lacquer, use small, even strokes. Let the lacquer dry.
Turn the copper jewellery piece over and coat the other side with lacquer. Let the lacquer dry again.
Tips and warnings
- Put on a pair of latex gloves to avoid contaminating the copper jewellery with your skin oils.
- You can also clean the surface of your copper with vinegar.
- Do not use this method on copper jewellery that has gemstones. You must first remove the gemstones from their settings.
- If you choose to work with a metal sealant, make sure to wear goggles and a face mask. The chemicals in this type of coating are highly toxic.
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