Did your copper, brass or silver jewelry change colors?

July 13, 2015 1:24 am Published by

If you’ve bought any of our pieces you may be familiar with our care card that comes with every order. You may also know that many of our pieces do require some maintenance to stay nice and shiny. We get a lot of questions about our metals; why they change colors, and how to clean them. And I wanted to take some time to answer some of our most frequently asked metal cleaning questions here on the blog!

First, it’s important to know that not all metals are susceptible to tarnish. Here at Zenned Out, the metals that can tarnish are sterling silver, copper and brass. Aluminum and 14k gold fill do not tarnish and will never change colors or cause skin reactions.

So, what is tarnish?

Tarnish is a chemical reaction that happens when your jewelry comes into contact with sulfur compounds. Your jewelry can come in contact with sulfur compounds in the air, your surroundings, and your skin. If you ask me, it sounds kind of creepy, who knew there was so much sulfur lurking around us!?! Due to variations in your surrounding and your personal pH balance your jewelry may tarnish faster or slower.

Eeek! I’m green! (Or, why your jewelry can cause skin discoloration.)

When your jewelry tarnishes, it may cause skin discoloration. This is the metal reacting with your body. Because everyone’s pH balance is different, everyone’s reaction to metal will differ greatly as well.

Most people will experience a light bluish or greenish skin discoloration when wearing copper. For some, brass will cause skin discoloration and for a very small percentage of people even sterling silver will discolor the skin.

But don’t worry, this is just the magic of science happening right there on your skin, nothing scary or crazy. Fortunately, any skin discoloration from metal is completely safe and will fade after a day or so.

Comparison is the thief of joy Copper wide-band cigar-style cuff ring

How to prevent tarnish and skin discoloration.

Because I like you soooooooo much we put a clear coat over all of our copper and brass pieces before you get them to help slow tarnish and help prevent skin discoloration. Because sterling silver usually tarnishes so slowly, we do not put a clear coat on it, it’s just too darn pretty to cover it up!

But wait, this clear coat won’t last forever!

I recommend keeping all of your sterling silver, copper and brass jewelry in an air tight baggy anytime it’s not being worn. Keeping it out of the open air will reduce it’s time reacting with sulfur compounds in the air.

Copper and brass should not come in contact with anything wet (water, sweat, kombucha tea, baby slobbers, doggy kisses etc.). Moisture will act as a corrosive and take the clear coat off faster and will accelerate tarnish.

Pro Tip: If your clear coating has started to wear off and your jewelry starting to give you some undesirable skin coloring, you can put a light coat of clear fingernail polish on the inside of the piece. This will give you a layer of protection between your skin and the metal and it works like a charm! This trick won’t last forever though and you will need to reapply every once in a while.

Trust your soul Copper and sterling silver pendant

How to get that sparkle back.

If you’re like me and forget to take off your copper jewelry every time you wash your hands, you’ll need to give those pretties a good cleaning every once in a while. Even for those of you who take perfect care of your pieces you may eventually want to shine it up.

Of course, you’re always welcome to send any of your Zenned Out jewelry to our studio for a free clean and to have another clear coat applied to your jewelry. Anytime you’re interested in this, please send us an email and we’ll give you instructions for sending it back.

But what if you don’t want to part with your pretties? Visit any local hobby store and you’ll be able to find jewelry polishing cloths or pads in the jewelry section for just a few dollars. These are a very easy and effective way to keep your jewelry clean.

Pro Tip: Avoid cleaning your jewelry in solutions. Most Zenned Out pieces have areas that have been intentionally darkened, like the text and symbols. Putting a piece in a cleaning solution could remove all of the darkened in area from your piece, eeek!

Would you like a tarnish free metal?

Personally, I love having jewelry for all different occasions. That is why I offer so many different metals at Zenned Out. If you want a piece of jewelry that you’ll never have to worry about tarnishing, checkout some of our pure food safe aluminum pieces.

We use pure food safe aluminum for many of our Zenned Out pieces. Pure aluminum will never tarnish, will never cause skin discoloration, and fewer people have skin allergies to it than sterling silver! It’s the beauty and shine of sterling silver without the high price tag and worry of tarnish. You can check out some of our pure aluminum pieces by clicking here.

If you’re ever unsure about what metal one of our pieces is made from you can always see it in the product overview here:

cleaning jewelry

As always, I love your feedback and questions. Please let me know if you have any metal cleaning tricks that I didn’t share or any questions in the comments section below!

The benefits of Copper Jewelry

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About Cassie

Cassie Uhl is the founder and owner of Zenned Out, a jewelry company that handcrafts jewelry with meaning and provides a community that inspires a mindful and spiritual lifestyle. Cassie grew up with a open minded, astrology obsessed grandmother and a father that would take her and her sister star gazing in the wee hours of the night. These experiences shaped Cassie and Zenned Out into what they are today by bringing spirituality and astrology into the forefront. Cassie hopes to give spiritual souls a place to feel at home on the Zenned Out blog and offers handcrafted jewelry with meaningful symbols, powerful gemstones, and mindful quotes to enable people to wear jewelry that aligns with their souls purpose.













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