My Copper Jewelry Turned Brown
(St. Louis, MO)
I have some copper bracelets that I've kept in my jewelry box for a while and they've turned dark brown. How can I clean them?
Ellen, pure copper will patina over time, getting darker and can eventually turn a lovely green color. To restore your dark copper jewelry to it's original bright finish, gently buff with a very fine steel wool (available at most home improvement centers.) This will highlight only the high areas of your jewelry. Rinse away any fine steel residue. You may leave this brushed finish or polish it with a jewelry polishing cloth, buffing to a bright shiny finish.
You may clean the entire bracelet in a solution of 2 parts lemon juice and 1 part salt. Rub with a soft cloth or simply immerse the item in the solution, then rinse with clean water. Pat dry. You may then use a jewelry polishing cloth. This solution will not harm most of the other components of your bracelet. However, avoid contact with pearls, dyed corals and some enhanced turquoises. Natural stones, glass and silver will not be harmed by the lemon juice/salt concoction.
Store your copper and Sterling silver jewelry in a plastic Ziplock© style bag to help retard tarnishing.
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