Polishing Your Metal

What you need:

*A polishing cloth and SUPER FINE 0000 STEEL WOOL

When I started making jewelry with copper, I LOOOOVED the way the copper looked and shined after it was oxidized and polished. For such an inexpensive and abundant metal, it sure is beautiful and a pleasure to work with. However, it oxidizes FAST, which means it turns black and brown after a week or so of being worn (sometimes faster). It can also turn your skin green (temporarily) which most ladies don’t prefer. I felt like I would be cheating people out of an easy wearable piece if I didn’t figure out a way to ‘hold’ that shine longer and prevent the green. So I played with different sealants. While they worked well for earrings, for other things that you’d wear on your skin it is just not worth it! It ruins the whole point of skin on skin healing contact with copper! No sealant is going to last long enough, and they can just feel kinda weird to sensitive skinned people. So I’m throwing out sealants all together! Except on some earrings, sometimes, and it will be noted in the description.

That being said, it’s mostly REALLY easy to polish your copper. For the most part you can just get a polishing cloth on Amazon, or Michaels, from your local jewelry shop and maybe even a hardware store or 2. These are great for daily and weekly maintenance. You can polish your jewelry every day if you always want to be on your top SHINE. Or whenever you feel like.

After a while you might need a more intensive ‘scrub’ to get that oxidation off. For that I LOOOOOVE Steel Wool SUPER FINE 0000. I might not use it forever because it leaves a hardly noticeable ‘brushed’ metal effect, which not all pieces are meant to have. It’s a style preference. But right now I use it a lot because it’s very accessible, cheap, and super effective to polish up metal fast and beautifully. Just take your cloth (or steel wool) and use a circular motion, or ‘scrub’ in one direction, until you get the look and shine you want. You can do this on your copper and silver pieces, but the .925 sterling silver I use wont need it very often.

There are LOTS of methods, actually, for cleaning metal and some of them are metal dependant. There are different chemical compounds you can buy, and most of them will work as advertised. Some are more natural then others, and you’ll want to do your research because I don’t use them and can’t make a recommendation. There are also ‘kitchen concoctions’ you can google and try. You might do different things for your copper pieces then you would for you silver or gold. For now, and for my jewelry, I’d recommend keeping a polish cloth and some SUPER FINE 0000 STEEL WOOL (easily found at all hardware stores). It must be SUPER FINE or it will leave scratch marks, ew!

If you are a fine jewelry collector and lover, you’ve maybe figured out that an ultra sonic machine will do the best job cleaning your gems. But you still have to POLISH them first to get that tough black/brown/green off. Alternatively, your local established jewelry shop should have some jewelry cleaning options and services for you.

So now that I’ve explained myself, if you see a free small polishing cloth or a chunk of steel wool in your order fom my site or Msjenamaze.Etsy.com, now you know what to do!

Hi, I’m Jen

Hi, I’m Jen Clark from Chico, CA. I make art and go to school when I’m not taking care of my only son, meditating, brooding, making vegan food, writing or enjoying the outdoors. I love to make stuff when I’m not caught up in existential crisis (artists, am I right?) and I’m easy to get a hold of on social media. I enjoy being challenged by custom ideas, so don’t be afraid to ask! The worst I’ll do is say, “I just don’t have the time, tools, or skills for that.”

If you really want to stalk me you can find me spreading the love on Instagram @msjenamaze, retweeting progressive liberal politics @msjenamaze on twitter, or writing my little heart out on my blog at nightlylaughter.home.blog! I’m on facebook, too… you might find, sometimes, that my etsy shop is the better place to shop @ msjenamaze.etsy.com 🙂 It really depends on my mood, inventory and the stars.