Mixed metal pieces - tumble?

by Kathy
(San Jose, CA, USA)

I have a handmade chain of mixed metal: sterling silver and copper. I haven't had luck tumbling it to a bright finish. Some places on the internet say that you cannot tumble a mixed metal piece. Your website seems to indicate that you can. I have cleaned the steel shot several times, using both Dawn and baking soda, separately, with good rinses between. Should I try to tumble the chain again?

Stacy's Answer:

Hi Kathy!

I can't speak for the others on the Internet, but I've been successfully tumbling mixed metals for years.

What you can't do, is tumble oxidized copper with bright copper and expect the bright copper to remain bright! It will oxidize when tumbled with oxidized copper. I tumble jumprings, assorted components and finished jewelry items of mixed metals all the time and have had no problems.

Of course, the best way to know, is to experiment! Try it and keep notes. That's the best way to find out what works and what doesn't. Use scrap pieces first so you don't ruin something wonderful. There are many factors that can cause undesirable results when tumble polishing, but I have not found mixed metals to be one of them.

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