by Sandy Vargas
How do I remove a coating (or tell if I have one) on my brass necklace?
Brass items with a protective coating do not tarnish. An easy way to tell is to dip or apply to a tiny portion of the necklace a brass patina agent such as Brass Black. If nothing happens, or if you've been wearing it for months and it still looks brand new, chances are a lacquer or other protective coating has been applied to it.
There are different methods of removing protective coatings. If no stones or other decorative items are on the necklace, you can dip it in a paint thinner such as M.E.K. (Methyl ethyl ketone) and then use a non-abrasive pad to wipe away the coating. You can also apply extra fine steel wool or a 3M scrubbie pad with some elbow grease to remove the coating by virtually rubbing/scratching it off. But know in advance, this also adds a brushed finish to the metal which would have to be professionally polished out.
If you are not planning on adding a patina to the brass, then leaving the coating in place will help prevent the brass from oxidizing (darkening) and spotting. The coating preserves the gold-like look of bright brass. Removing lacquers is a lengthy, somewhat unpleasant task. You may wish to think about it before proceeding.
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