Copper and Brass are metals that tarnish very easily. This is a natural occurrence that happens when the metals are exposed to moisture, or sulfur. They develop a dark coating on their surface to prevent rust.
Sterling silver is an alloy of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals which include copper, zinc, etc. Because sterling silver is an alloy, it will tarnish as well. This is not a defect in the material but rather a chemical reaction with sulfur particles in the air and on the skin.
Some jewelers use methods of anti-tarnish plating or some kind of lacquer to coat their jewelry in order to prevent tarnish. This is why you may have experience with other copper, brass or sterling silver jewelry that don't tarnish. While these plating/coating methods help to prevent the metal from tarnishing, they are subject to stripping over time, which means the jewelry may have a shorter lifespan. Also, the wearer would be constantly exposed to the chemicals that are used to coat the metal. For this reason, we choose not to plate or coat our pieces.
Tarnish may be caused by highly acidic perspiration or contact with other chemical agents like perfume, makeup, hairspray or cleaning products. This condition is not to be taken as a defect in the material or an indication of inferior quality. The speed at which copper, brass and sterling silver tarnish is completely dependent upon the level of acidity (sulfur) you expose them to.
HOW TO PREVENT OR REMOVE TARNISH
You should always remove your jewelry before putting on makeup, lotions, and perfumes or using hair products. Make sure these products have had time to absorb into your skin before you put your jewelry back on. Do not handle your jewelry after putting on hand lotion, as this can leave fingerprint marks that are very difficult to remove.
Never wear your jewelry when working with detergents, bleaches, or any other household chemicals, as they will cause discoloration of the sterling silver.
Never wear your jewelry in a hot tub, mineral spring, swimming pool, or any other chemically treated water.
Wearing your jewelry and cleaning it often, may be one of the best ways to keep it looking beautiful and reduce tarnish buildup. After wearing, clean your jewelry by washing it with warm water and a mild soap, rinse well and dry thoroughly with a soft cotton cloth.
Do not allow your jewelry to come in contact with items containing sulfur. Examples would be latex gloves, rubber bands, wool, and item’s containing elastic.
Regular cleaning of your jewelry will keep it bright and beautiful. One of the easiest ways to remove tarnish buildup is to use a jewelry pro-polishing pad or polishing cloth, like the ones we provide with your order.
Your Copper and Brass jewelry may require a little more attention than your Sterling Silver jewelry. We personally love the appearance of the jewelry as it moves through the various stages of tarnish. However, if you love your jewelry looking bright and shiny, here is an effective method of cleaning copper and brass:
Pour 1/4 cup vinegar into a container
Add 1 tsp of salt and mix until salt is dissolved
Place jewelry into the container and shake the container gently
Remove jewelry from container after a few seconds
Wash jewelry with liquid soap and rinse with water
Dry thoroughly and polish with a jewelry polishing cloth
We hope these tips are helpful. With proper care, your Siwatu Jewelry can last a lifetime!