The Importance of Proper Brass Jewelry Care
Brass jewelry is a wonderful option for lifetime additions to a stylish wardrobe. Brass naturally develops a patina, which over the course of time adds dimension, character, and beauty with age. An easy way to get the look is to avoid polishing and let oxygen & your natural body chemistry create a ‘living’ finish.
However, if you prefer the original shine & brightness, this guide contains top cleaning tips and care methods to maintain your brass jewelry. Follow the steps below to clean and polish your brass jewelry from time to time.
Understand Tarnishing in Brass Jewelry
Jewelry 'tarnish' is the common name we call the process of oxidation. A layer of tarnish appears when the copper component in brass reacts with moisture and air. Again, this adds to the beauty of our ancient-inspired jewelry. However, regular cleaning can effectively remove this tarnish, restoring the brightness of your jewelry.
Recognize Discoloration in Your Brass Pieces
Almost all jewelry on the market is made as an alloy containing varying amounts of copper. This is why some who wear rose gold, silver, or brass jewelry may experience ‘greening’ where the jewelry comes into contact with the skin. This is not a reflection of low jewelry quality, but a chemical reaction happening between the natural oils in your skin and the copper in your jewelry. Whether you will experience this with brass or any jewelry containing copper depends on the pH balance of your body. The higher your pH (more acidic) the more frequently you may need to clean your jewelry. The good news is it’s a perfectly harmless reaction and fades away. It can also change depending on hormones or diet. Timely cleaning can reverse this discoloration and return the brass to its original shade.
Top 4 Cleaning Methods
1. Vinegar Solution: A Brightening Clean for Brass Jewelry
Brighten your brass jewelry by immersing it in a 1:1 solution of water and white vinegar for 30 seconds. After rinsing it off, use a soft polishing cloth (available here) to buff it to a shine. However, this method is not recommended for jewelry with delicate stones, as vinegar can damage them.
2.The Ketchup Technique: A Quick Cleaning Tip
Another cleaning tip for brass jewelry is to apply ketchup to the tarnished areas. Let it sit for a minute before gently wiping it off with a cloth. The acidity of the ketchup can work wonders in removing tarnish. Be cautious if your jewelry has delicate stones.
3. The Citrus Mix: A Jewelry Deep Clean
For jewelry without stones, a blend of 1 cup water, 1-1/2 tbsp of lemon juice, and 1 tsp of salt works wonders. Soak for 15-30 minutes, then rinse and dry. Another option for cleaning your brass jewelry is using lemon and baking soda. You'll want to create a paste using 1 tbsp lemon juice and 4-5 tbsp baking soda. Gently scrub the brass, avoiding the stones, rinse and pat dry.
4. Professional Cleaning: For Convenience
Sometimes it's best to leave it to the pros. We offer a thorough cleaning service to bring back the lost sheen in your brass pieces. In fact, all orders include a one-time, complimentary polishing and cleaning available upon request (not including shipment fees). Submit cleaning requests via email to care@Mahnal.com including images.
Polishing Brass Jewelry
This easy 2-step process requires a polishing cloth (available here) and wax sealer (available here). Not every polishing cloth will work for cleaning brass jewelry however. Our's is impregnated with a cleaner that will remove any tarnish or surface oxides. You can safely use our cleaning polishing cloth to clean all of your brass jewelry (gold, silver, etc) as well.
As a step 2, you'll use the wax sealer to preserve your newly polished brass jewelry. A very small amount goes a long way! By creating a durable, water-resistant barrier this museum quality wax will help extend and preserve your jewelry's bright finish.
You may find that your everyday brass rings don’t need polishing because of constant washing and rubbing of your hands. Just make sure to dry them. :)
Brass Jewelry Storage
The most important thing to remember with storing brass jewelry is sealing out moisture. You can store your jewelry in its original plastic (compostable!) packaging that you receive it in. You can also store your brass in a jewelry box that seals out dust particles and moisture.
Every piece of brass jewelry we share is designed to live on as heirloom jewelry. Brass jewelry is extremely durable and can be passed down generation after generation. These care tips will help your special piece last a lifetime.
Frequently Asked Questions About Brass Jewelry Care and Cleaning
Q: Does 100% brass jewelry turn green?
A: Yes, pure brass jewelry can sometimes develop a greenish tint. This happens due to a reaction between the copper in the brass alloy and the natural oils on your skin, particularly when the jewelry is worn for extended periods. To minimize this effect, remove your jewelry before showering or swimming, and make sure to dry it thoroughly if it gets wet.
Q: What are the cons/downsides of brass jewelry?
A: Brass jewelry, while affordable and stylish, has a few downsides depending on your preferences. The most notable is the time to clean it and maintain its brightness. Proper care and regular cleaning outlined above can mitigate these issues to some extent.
Q: How well does brass jewelry last?
A: Even with minimal care, brass jewelry will likely last beyond your lifetime. With brass being one of the most durable metals, it can last for thousands of years. With proper storage some say it can last forever while maintaining its structural integrity. Brass does not rust and an added benefit it is resistant to corrosion.
Q: How do you keep brass jewelry from tarnishing?
A: There are a few steps you can take to prevent tarnish on brass jewelry. Keep your jewelry dry and store it in a cool, dark place when not in use. Use anti-tarnish strips in your jewelry box for added protection or gel silica packets to absorb moisture. Regular cleaning and occasional professional polishing will also keep tarnish at bay.
Q: Is it okay to wear brass jewelry all the time?
A: Because of its durability, it is okay to wear brass jewelry daily for people without high sensitivity. It has the added benefit of being naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial. Depending on your environment and activities, regular polishing and cleaning may be needed to maintain its brightness.