Fun Facts about Bronze!

Posted by Stephenie Denault on

I've been making antique bronze jewellery alongside my sterling silver for years. It's a beautiful color similar to old gold, and like the other materials I use is free of zinc, nickel and cadmium.

WHAT IS BRONZE?

Classic bronze, which is what I use, is an alloy that consists of a mixture of approximately 90% copper and 10% tin. Producing bronze is a less toxic process than producing brass as brass is a combination of copper and zinc, and the manufacturing process often produces zinc oxide which is toxic.

Because of the ease that they could dig it up, it is one of the earliest metals used, thus the source of the term The Bronze Age. It was used in the ancient world for everything from armor, swords, and statues!

WILL IT TURN MY SKIN GREEN?

Because bronze contains copper, it can turn your skin green whether you have an allergy or not. Bronze and copper turn your skin green because when the copper reacts with your sweat and the acids from your skin, it produces copper chloride. Copper chloride is a green substance that then rubs off on your skin. 

If you are prone to sweating, your bronze jewellery will definitely turn your skin green. It's not a permanent staining, but can bother some folks. Jewellers Skin Guard is a protective clear liquid that can be applied over the jewellery to create a protective barrier between your skin and the reactive metals. The cheaper, more do-it-yourself alternative to this is to apply clear nail polish on your jewellery, or use acrylic artist sealant.

CARE TIPS

 Here are a few tips that maybe could help you keep your bronze nice

  • Make a habit of wiping down your jewellery when you remove it at the end of a long day. Using a jeweller’s polishing cloth, a soft cotton or fleece cloth, gently rubbing over your silver chain regularly will help keep the shiny sheen on.
  • Store your jewellery appropriately in an air-tight padded container or box in a dark room. Making every effort to keep your chain away from dust and atmospheric temperatures (don’t leave it on the bathroom counter!) will keep it looking new for longer.
  • Be sure to store jewellery separately even if they are all of a similar colour shade. Investing in zip lock bags in which to store them will see you enjoy them for a longer time than most.
  • Soak your jewellery for 15-30 seconds in liquid silver dip cleaner, easily found at any pharmacy. This should help reduce some staining, but don’t do it for too long or the polish will strip off.
  • Another trick is to mix 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 tablespoons baking soda together, then let your jewellery soak in the mixture for two to three hours before rinsing and polishing with a jewellery polishing cloth.
  • Keep your skin dry when you wear jewellery. If you have jewellery close to a humid place on your body, try dabbing on some powder to keep the moisture down.
I hope that answers a few of your questions, and if you ever have any others, don't hesitate to ask!

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