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Q: Crow Steals Fire uses only the highest quality materials, so why would artisan metal jewelry sometimes tarnish?
A: Simply put: Tarnish Happens
All metal tarnishes: copper, brass, bronze, sterling silver, fine silver, even gold. However, since much commercial jewelry is more often than not coated with polymers, acrylics, or plated with rhodium, many people are no longer familiar with how traditional jewelry performs under everyday conditions. (Think of the maintenance required for your grandmother's silver tea sets and copper-bottomed pots.)
Tarnish is a natural process. How fast your artisan made jewelry tarnishes depends on your skin chemistry and your environment. Tarnishing is a chemical reaction between the metal and another compound like sulfides (think pollution), oxygen, sulfur, rubber, chlorine, salt, sweat, certain acids, wool, and many other things.
Sometimes the reaction is slow, like with gold and aluminum. Sometimes the reaction is remarkably fast -- the chlorine in pools and detergents can turn sterling silver totally black almost immediately. Increased humidity, elevated temperatures, and air circulation will accelerate tarnishing. Even exposure to bright sunlight increases the speed of tarnish.
So what can you do to maintain your metal jewelry's shine? Refer to some age-old wisdom: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
- Never wear your jewelry in a hot tub, swimming pool, or ocean.
- Don't sleep, shower, or exercise with your jewelry on.
- Don't store your jewelry in a bathroom.
- Keep jewelry and chains out of your mouth.
- Hairsprays, perfumes, cosmetics, and lotions can effect tarnishing rates. Apply these products before putting on jewelry.
- Do wear your jewelry often. Wearing actually keeps your jewelry looking good.
- Do wipe your jewelry with a soft cloth after each wearing.
- Store your jewelry in a quality jewelry box with anti-tarnish velvet.
- Store your jewelry in resealable plastic bags with anti-tarnish tabs to limit exposure to air when not in use.
- If you live in a humid area, put a silica packet in your jewelry box to further reduce moisture.
- Dry jewelry thoroughly before storing it.
- Remember: last on, first off. Put your jewelry on last and take it off first.
Purchase a professional jewelry polishing cloth or jewelry care kit from Crow Steals Fire and keep your jewelry looking its best.
In some cases, tarnish is a desired effect. The most famous patina in the world is worn by the Statue of Liberty in New York, USA. Made with a skin of copper, the Statue of Liberty was originally the color of a penny. After installation, it took about thirty years for her to fully oxidize and form the familiar blue-green patina we know today.