Care Tips for Copper and Sterling Silver Jewelry

The best method to keep your jewelry nice and shiny is to clean your jewelry after each use.  Wipe the piece with a soft cloth and store it in a re-sealable plastic bag or jewelry case with anti-tarnish paper.   When you receive my copper or sterling jewelry, the piece has been initially treated with Renaissance Wax to provide you with the easiest care possible. Renaissance Wax was developed for use on the British Museum's priceless antiques.  It is a special blend of microcrystalline waxes that will not stain or discolor with aging. It is acid-neutral, and water and alcohol resistant. Preferred by museums worldwide for protecting furniture, leather, marble, paintings, and metal. With extended wear, however, the coating will eventually wear off.  You can purchase Renaissance Wax online from a variety of sources and since a little goes a long way, it is cost-effective and a coating usually lasts approximately one year to 18 months. 

It is easy to care for copper jewelry and sterling silver jewelry.  A good point to remember is that copper is the catalyst that speeds up the oxidation/tarnish process of precious metals.  Only 24K Gold 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.  For more delicate pieces have a professional jeweler steam clean or use an ultrasonic cleaner.  Don't attempt to clean the piece yourself, especially if set with gemstones or pearls.  Gems can be damaged by ultrasonic cleaners, so might damage the gemstone.  When in doubt, take your jewelry to a professional. For sterling silver chains and items with durable stones, cubic zirconium, or glass, Tarnex (available at hardware stores, supermarkets, etc.) can be used to remove tarnish on sterling silver and copper. Place a couple of ounces in a non-reactive (plastic or glass) container with a lid and dip the item in and immediately remove and rinse with water. Dry and then reseal sterling silver or fine silver with Renaissance Wax. Use a clear acrylic sealer for copper.  

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.
  • Worcestershire Sauce or Ketchup Apply it with a toothbrush or soft cloth, then rinse thoroughly. Avoid getting ketchup on gemstones that should not be used with chemical cleaners