How to Clean Copper Jewelry?

September 19th, 2022

Copper, a versatile metal known for its earthy, red-brown color, is responsible for many unique and long-lasting jewelry designs. Copper is durable and affordable, making it an excellent material to round out any jewelry collection. With reasonable care, your copper jewelry can last generations. 

 

Like most other jewelry, copper jewelry can change color over time, from a shinier brown to a deeper, golden brown. If not regularly cleaned, pure copper jewelry can turn green and develop a patina.

Learn how to best clean your copper jewelry collection so that you can pass your pieces down to your heirs.  

How to Clean Copper Jewelry: The Procedure

Acidic solutions are the best option for cleaning tarnished copper. You can create an acidic solution at home using household items with a low pH, like lemon juice. Low pH acidic solutions are often used in cleaning products and can effectively remove discoloration from copper, brass, and other metals. 

There are two simple options for cleaning your copper jewelry at home, one using salt and the other using baking soda. Here are the things you will need for cleaning copper jewelry

 

Here are the supplies:

  • A toothbrush
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Baking soda
  • jewelry polishing cloth or a soft cloth

Here are the steps:

First, wet your copper jewelry and sprinkle salt on the surface. Dampen the cloth with lemon juice and rub the piece until the tarnish disappears. Once you have removed the tarnish, rinse the piece with warm water and dry it off. 

Alternatively, you can make a paste with equal parts lemon juice and baking soda and scrub the piece with the toothbrush. Make sure you rinse the paste off after polishing.

If your copper jewelry piece contains gemstones, like a copper bracelet, pendant or ring, you’ll want to be extra careful when using an acidic solution to clean your jewelry; certain gemstones can become damaged when they come into contact with acidic solutions. If you’re worried about damaging your gemstone, take your copper piece to a jeweler or commercial copper cleaner near you who can perform a professional cleaning. 

woman hands close up holding wire wrapped jewelry heart top view

How Often Should You Clean Copper Jewelry

You should aim to clean your copper jewelry about once every two months to preserve peak shine, especially if you wear copper jewelry daily. Also, take your collection (or at least any pieces with a gemstone) to a professional jeweler or any commercial copper cleaner for cleaning once a year.

If your copper piece has a lacquer finish, it may be a while before you see any signs of tarnish. Eventually, though, even lacquer pieces without regular cleaning. Polishing can help restore shine but beware of overpolishing, which can rub parts of the lacquer off. 

To preserve longevity, always thoroughly dry your copper pieces after cleaning or polishing and store them in an airtight container that protects them from tarnish due to moisture and oxygen. You may want to keep your copper collection in an airtight bag, such as Ziploc, to reduce the interaction with air. Using a sealing coating, like clear nail polish, protects copper jewelry from future tarnishing and scratches while also increasing its luster!

When you wear copper jewelry, avoid swimming pools and any detergents that contain chlorine because chlorine may cause copper jewelry to turn green over time.

You may notice that your copper pieces leave a green residue on your skin after wearing them. This happens naturally when the copper metal reacts with perspiration and is not permanent. Absorbing copper does not harm your body; some people choose copper jewelry to counter a copper deficiency. You can easily remove any green staining by washing the area with soap and water. Avoid wearing copper jewelry if this is something you want to avoid.

Craft jewelry making with professional tools. Ring repairing.

Get Affordable Jewelry Insurance with BriteCo™

BriteCo offers affordable jewelry insurance to protect your jewelry collection that covers up to 125% of the appraised value of your pieces. BriteCo provides low-cost protection for even your most valuable pieces with a monthly payment option and no deductibles. 

We insure engagement rings, luxury watches, and all your fine jewelry, and our policies cover prong retipping, clasp replacement, restringing, stone tightening, and maintenance and repair services. 

Find out how much you can save with BriteCo’s check your price feature, or speak to us today about how we can help you protect your collection.

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About the Author

Rachel Akmakjian is Director of Jeweler Relations for BriteCo. She has more than eight years’ experience in jewelry marketing, retail, diamond wholesale, and managing her own company that specializes in creating custom jewelry pieces. Rachel is currently a student at the Gemological Institute of America, on track to receive her Graduate Gemology certificate by the end of this year. Her education and experiences have given her an in-depth understanding of the demands and expectations facing jewelers and customers in today’s evolving retail marketplace.
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