Bronze jewellery comes in many styles and finishes, from antique to satin or high polish finishes. Whatever type of bronze jewellery you have I'm sure you want to keep it looking as good as the day you bought it.
Some bronze jewellery is designed to have an antique or aged look. If you like that effect then you don't need to be too concerned about preventing tarnishing through storage and polishing. However, if you have bronze jewellery that is polished and doesn't have an aged effect then here are some guidelines and tips on how to clean, care for and store your bronze jewellery.
Bronze is a metal alloy composed primarily of copper, mixed with other metals such as aluminium, zinc or, tin. The addition of these other metals to the copper makes it very durable and corrosion resistant.
Bronze however can tarnish, just like silver. It will oxidize over time. Oxidization is a natural reaction of the metals with moisture and airborne chemicals, and other factors such as oils from the skin. The result is a darkening of the metal or a patina effect, what we more commonly refer to as tarnishing.
My handmade bronze jewellery here at Bonschelle is polished to a golden satin shine, and to help maintain this I finish the jewellery with a high quality jewellery sealer which helps reduce the risk of oxidisation and preserve the beautiful golden appearance. Polishing the jewellery if it has not tarnished may therefore remove this protection so it is not recommended.
However for unsealed raw bronze jewellery you can use a standard silver polishing cloth to polish it followed by buffing with a soft cloth. I have found this works very well and is quick and easy. It's best not to use harsh or abrasive chemicals such as some brass cleaners as these can scratch the surface. A good quality polish such as Wernol (Glanol), with a buff with a soft cloth works well too, but ensure that all polish residue is thoroughly removed as any oils left on the metal may cause tarnishing.
Care and Storage
Some simple steps will help prevent tarnishing:
- After wearing your jewellery wipe with a soft cloth to remove any oils which have transferred from your skin.
- If you apply any creams to your skin wait till they have been fully absorbed before putting on your bronze jewellery.
- If you have used any kind of cream or liquid polish on the jewellery it's important to ensure that all residue is thoroughly cleaned off before storing the item.
- Prevent oxidation by keeping your jewellery in a tightly closed box, or sealed plastic bag. Enclosing an anti-tarnish strip with the jewellery will also help.
Bronze is a beautiful metal, and I hope this helps you maintain the appearance of your own beautiful bronze items.
©N Jackson, Bonschelle
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