What is Patina?
Patina, or oxidation, occurs when metals are exposed to oxygen. Certain things will affect the rate and extent of this process. This is totally natural and nothing to worry about when you notice it on your jewelry. Patina is typically surface-level only, and can be cleaned off to renew the shine of your jewelry.
What causes patina / oxidation?
Sweat, chemicals, strong scents, and especially sulfur will all expedite oxidation. Some people can wear silver chains, and the silver will remain shiny, and others can only wear a silver chain a bit before the chain turns black. This is due to the composition of the person's sweat and what kinds of strong scents or chemicals they are exposed to, including moisture & salty environments. It’s a pretty unpredictable process.
Should I clean the patina?
Patina on certain jewelry styles will actually enhance the beauty and depth of the design. Allowing the natural patina to remain on your jewelry is a personal choice. If you prefer your jewelry to remain shiny, we encourage you to use Sunshine Polishing cloths and then rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly. There are many natural at-home cleaning methods.
How do I clean my jewelry?
Patina is natural, and oxidation is a normal process with silver jewelry, BUT you can also do a few things if you prefer the shiny look. You can use a treated polishing cloth to lightly buff the surface. We love Sunshine Polishing cloths available for purchase HERE. After buffing, rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly. Avoid harsh chemical dips as these can damage metals and gemstones. Or you can try one of these natural at-home jewelry cleaning recipes below.
How to clean your jewelry:
Our favorite natural cleaning method for Sterling Silver was given to us by my grandmother, Alice.
Here's what you need:
1) Hot Water (heated in a pot on the stove to boiling)
2) Aluminum foil
3) Washing Soda (this is different than baking soda- but in a pinch use baking soda)
4) Tupperware container
There are two methods you can try:
1) Line the tupperware with the aluminum foil
2) Heat up a pot of hot water
3) Once the hot water boils, add 3-4 TBS washing soda and mix
4) Place your tarnished jewelry on the aluminum foil in the tupperware
5) Pour the hot water & washing soda mixture over your jewel and let it sit
6) After 5 minutes stir the water and flip your jewel
7) After about 10 minutes, remove your jewel with a spoon so you don't burn yourself on the water, and rinse it under running water
8) Rub your jewel with a soft cloth or very soft bristled tooth brush to avoid scratching
9) Repeat if necessary (you may need to make more hot water)
For Bronze try this method:
Here's what you'll need:
1) Fresh Lime Juice from 1 Lime
2) 1 Cup White Vinegar
3) 1 Tsp Salt
Mix all the ingredients in a tupperware bowl and dip your bronze into it & let sit about 3-4 minutes. Remove and rinse under running water and dry with a soft cloth. You may need to repeat or use a soft bristled tooth brush in the mixture to get recessed areas clean.
Will my jewelry turns my skin black or green?
It might. This reaction happens due to the copper content in brass and bronze, and the alloy content in 925 sterling silver. 925 actually means 92.5 % pure silver, 7.5% alloy. We mix silver because pure silver is too soft to wear well without bending and scratching. We use 925 silver as it is the standard industry mix. If your jewelry turns your finger or wrist black or green, you can prevent this by applying a thin layer of clear nail polish to the inside of your piece. All our bronze and brass jewelry has a clear coating pre-applied. This will last a while on earrings, but will wear off over time on surfaces that rub against other surfaces, such as on the insides of rings and bracelets.