Protection for sterling silver
by Sandra Guerra-Nardone
(Dorado, Puerto Rico)
Hi! I am kind of new in the world of hand stamping jewelry and I have so many questions to ask! My biggest concern is about the tarnishing process. I am hand stamping sterling silver, copper and gold filled stamps from Fusionbeads and Rio Grande. I like to know If I can use a protective coat. I also want to know if I can protect the chains that I am using which are the sterling silver and gold filled bead chain.
I will appreciate your advice.
Sadly, most of the less expensive metals we use for jewelry making such as Sterling silver, copper, brass, and bronze will develop a patina or age darken, changing their appearance. Sometimes this is desirable, other times not. I've never worked with gold-filled, only karat gold, so I'm sorry to say I don't know how it wears or if it will turn color/patina over time. Some folks have to polish their Sterling silver jewelry more often than others, which has to do with their own body chemistry.
Most folks do not apply a protective finish to silver....usually just the base metals such as copper and its alloys. Putting a lacquer coating on chain is a tricky business as you want to keep the chain malleable. Coatings such as Renaissance Wax will rub off pretty quickly in areas with lots of friction, but it may work nicely for you on the front part of disc-style pendants. For silver you can use Argentium silver which, when you follow the proper protocol, is very tarnish-resistant.