Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ask Auntie EM - how do I keep brass from tarnishing?

If you're new here, this is a weekly blog post written by Sue and Ann where we tackle your metalsmithing and non metalsmithing questions. Having trouble with your solder? Need some help with stone setting? Have a problem 2 year old? We and EtsyMetal's 100+ members probably have the answer. If you'd like YOUR question answered in the future, please email your questions to askauntie@etsymetal.com and we will get to it as soon as we can. If you'd like to read past posts, they can be found here.

This week's question is from Cheryl and is about brass and bronze rings oxidizing:

I make some brass and bronze rings but I've been getting feedback about them tarnishing way too quickly. I spray them with a clear acrylic coating but apparently that's not cutting it, especially in the really humid weather here in Canada.

What else can I put over these rings to prevent my customer's fingers turning green and to keep it as shiny as possible. Hopefully there is a solution that is not too expensive?

Well, Cheryl, I'm afraid I don't have an easy answer for you.  Brass, bronze and copper tarnish quickly and easily, especially when in contact with skin.  Some people delay the tarnishing process with lacquer or layers of wax but none of them work for long.  I'm afraid, this time, you can't stop the progress of Mother Nature.  The only real fix for your problem is to line your rings with sterling silver or some other non reactive metal.  I'm afraid this isn't a fast or inexpensive fix but it will certainly keep your jewelry from turning your customer's finger's green.

I'm sorry, I don't think this was the answer you're looking for.  If anyone out there has a better solution, please post it in the comments section!  We would love to hear it!
Auntie EM is now out of questions!  We need YOUR help to keep this blog post going!  Please email your questions to askauntie@etsymetal.com and we will get to answering your question as quickly as possible.  Remember, your question doesn't have to be limited to metalsmithing...we can help with business questions, questions about Etsy or running your shop, or cooking questions!  Come on, challenge us!!

Until next week, happy metalsmithing!! 


Sarah said...

The worst part of working with certain beautiful metals is the fact they tarnish so quickly. Someone mentioned awhile back there was a clear coat you could use but I can't seem to remember what it was.

Ann Hartley said...

It was probably a spray laquer but that's really temporary, like anything. Ditto nail polish and wax coatings. Nothing is permanent, unfortunately

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