COPPER JEWELRY CARE TIPS
TIPS ON CARING FOR YOUR COPPER JEWELRY
I offer 2 copper finishes, bright and aged (patina) copper. All my copper pieces are left without treatment, wax or lacquers so you can benefit from copper's ancient healing properties. Bright copper has a lustrous shine and will darken over time. Certain situations will make the copper oxidize faster. Aged copper gives the ring an antique look it will brighten over time, leaving you with a beautiful natural and shiny aged ring. The copper is dipped in Liver of Sulfur and polished to give it a gorgeous dark patina.
Copper is highly reactive and always develops a patina, much like sterling silver, but faster and darker, especially in the presence of acids, heat, sunlight, sweat, swimming pools and chlorine water, chemicals and cosmetics. Remove copper jewelry before bathing, swimming, doing dishes, putting on lotion or makeup. The best way to bring back luster to any piece of jewelry is to use a jewelry polishing cloth that can be easily purchased at my store, most jewelry stores, online, and at many drugstores. A jewelry polishing cloth can last for years.
- Do not expose copper jewelry (especially patinated copper jewelry) to water or any type of solvent - take off jewelry before washing dishes
- Remove all jewelry before showering or bathing
- Do not wear copper jewelry while swimming (chlorine and salt will permanently damage copper and/or patina)
- Do not wear copper jewelry while applying cosmetics or skin lotions
If you are wanting to use any harsh chemical cleaners, “dips” or any kind of acid soak, such as lemon juice, tomato juice or Worcestershire sauce to clean your copper, please make sure the stone you have is suitable to sit in acid. Some stones are ‘soft’ and acid may destroy the stone. A perfect example of a stone that should not be immersed in acid is Opal. It absorbs fluid and acid will, if left long enough soak through the Opal and destroy it. If you are not sure, you can use a cloth dipped in cleaner and wipe down the copper area only.
THE HEALING PROPERTIES OF COPPER
Not only is copper an essential mineral for our body which can slowly be absorbed through our skin for proper assimilation but it is also antimicrobial. An antimicrobial is a substance that kills or inhibits the growth of micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungi, or protozoan's, as well as destroying viruses. Copper is also an antifungal agent. It is still used in the treatment of skin disease and wounds today as it was thousands of years ago.
The copper layer that can form on your skin is readily absorbed by the body as copper is an essential nutrient required to form (along with iron) new red blood cells. It helps maintain healthy bones, blood vessels, nerves, and immune function, and it contributes to iron absorption. Sufficient copper in the diet may help prevent cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, too.Copper jewelry has been worn for hundreds of years not only because it is a beautiful metal but due to the belief of reducing or helping Arthritic and Rheumatic diseases. People also look to copper for its healing properties in improving the circulation of blood, increasing energy, detoxification, reducing inflammation, stabilizing metabolism and improving oxygen use. Although folk lore abounds with stories of how the wearing of copper helps ease the pain and discomfort of arthritis, you might want to wear copper just because it is a beautiful piece of jewelry.
WHY IS MY SKIN TURNING GREEN?
Copper is a gorgeous looking metal and one of my favorites, but sadly many people are put off by the risk of turning the skin green when in close contact with the skin. For some wearers, the reaction will happen faster than for others. For many, it will not happen at all. With a few simple steps and a little knowledge, the speed and likelihood of the oxidization reaction can be lowered. The oxidization reaction is also responsible for creating the aged copper effect, which gives the jewelry a unique rustic look as it is worn (and loved!) by you.
Tips to keep your copper ring from discoloring your skin:
- Keep the copper clean and dry as much as possible. Wipe down with a soft cloth and place in a clean baggie after it has been worn.
- Remove jewelry before washing your hands, showering or bathing so soap and water does not get trapped under the band/pendant.
- Do not wear jewelry while swimming, the chlorine or salt can damage the copper.
- Take off jewelry while exercising, applying cosmetics or skin lotions. Sweat and chemicals in lotions/cosmetics will increase the likelihood of oxidization.
The oxidization reaction can happen due to body chemistry (in particular a high pH level) as well as environmental. I cannot tell you if the piece will react to your skin, as I do not know your lifestyle, your body pH and the environment you live in. Some days there will be no greening, other days there may be, depending on what you are doing and eating that day.
A body with a high pH level (acidic) secretes out in sweat and oils that reacts with the copper. High pH levels can be attributed to stress and/or diet. Copper can also react with the environment - heat, humidity and the salt in our sweat can speed up the oxidation reaction. In all instances a green layer of copper carbonate is being formed on your skin. It is harmless and is nothing to be concerned about, it just looks unappealing. Most likely you're not allergic to the copper, very few people are.
Rings which are worn close to the skin are the most likely to cause discoloration because of no air circulation between your finger and the ring. Your finger sweats and produces oils which are trapped. The same goes for bracelets. Soap and water should remove the discoloration easily, for more difficult stains use lemon juice or white vinegar.An acidic body pH can possibly cause green skin when wearing copper, which in turn can indicate stress and dietary issues. In addition, an acidic body pH may even lead to health problems if not addressed. An alkaline body pH rarely causes green skin. Wearing copper is therefore a great indication of your general health and whether you are alkaline or acidic. Wearing copper has been used for centuries to help in healing. An acidic body is often due to the high intake of protein, processed food, red meat, dairy, sugar and soda. An alkaline diet includes soy, fresh fruits and veggies, beans, lentils and some whole grains like quinoa.
Copper reacts to substances in sweat and oils secreted by our body through the skin. These oils will not only give the copper a darker patina but will also allow antique copper to become brighter over time. For those who wish to keep their copper jewelry bright, polishing cloths are available in the Other section of the shop. These are the perfect accessory for bright copper jewelry.
Keeping your jewelry clean will help in the prevention of oxidation and turning your skin green. Take off your copper jewelry every night, don’t apply lotions or make up, and avoid washing up. Wipe your jewelry with a clean soft cloth when you remove it. Doing this will clean any body oils or sweat off your jewelry. The cleaner you keep your copper jewelry the less likely your skin will discolor from oxidation. You can also store it in a re-sealable bag or jewelry case with anti-tarnish paper, but do make sure the piece is moisture free before storing.
As copper can react to acidic environments and our body acidity is related to our diet, for a permanent solution to get rid of the green you might want to look into whether your body is too acidic. An acidic body can also lead to illnesses, so it's good to know if you're too acidic or not. Junk food, processed food, and lots of red meat will make our body acidic. Stress does too. This acidity is secreted in our sweat and oils, so it might be worth looking into having a more alkaline diet (think water, nuts and whole fruits and veggies). Or at least cutting down on some foods that are known to cause acidity. Some people wear copper just for this reason, it lets them know if they are getting too acidic and therefore if they are at more risk of getting sick. An alkaline or neutral body won't cause a green reaction at all.
WHAT'S THE SOLUTION?
Firstly, check your diet, make sure to keep the jewelry clean and dry and away from acid, salt and harsh chemicals and store in a sealed baggy when not wearing your piece. If you regularly experience greening, it is easily removed with soap and water and you may apply a layer of clear nail polish (or top coat) to the inside of your ring to create a barrier between the metal and your skin. No one will ever see it and will only need to be reapplied once the original layer has worn off. Alternatively, you can use jeweler’s wax, car wax or jewelry lacquer. All these methods will have to be periodically repeated because none of them are permanent and will need to reapplied once they wear off.
A lot of people are hesitant to wear copper but in fact it is less allergy inducing than most other metals as those often contain impurities. Electroformed copper is 100% pure copper.