I LOVE wearing copper. The reasons are many, and you can read all about that in Part I of this post by clicking here For right now, I want to talk about how you can enjoy wearing your copper jewelry without the ‘green stuff’ and exactly what that greenish bluish blackish stuff is all about!
How to enjoy wearing Copper, and making it your FAVORITE jewelry metal!!
Copper is a pure elemental metal, CU on the periodic table.
Copper oxidizes and darkens when it comes in contact with the air in the environment (much like sterling silver, but more quickly). Oxidation happens even more quickly in the presence of sunlight, sweat, chlorine (swimming pools), chemicals and cosmetics. Therefore I suggest always removing your jewelry before bathing, swimming, exercising, doing dishes, or applying lotion or makeup. Always keep your jewelry clean and dry.
If you prefer the “aged” look that oxidation naturally gives copper, I recommend cleaning your jewelry with a bit of mild dish soap in warm water. You can use a soft bristle brush when necessary.
If you prefer a “bright” look to your copper, I highly recommend cleaning your copper jewelry with a jewelry cloth called Sunshine Cloth. These magic cleaning cloths also work great for your sterling silver and brass jewelry. These cloths are available through my Etsy Shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/PeacockGypsies
The Natural Reaction Between Copper and Your Skin
If you’ve ever seen copper roofs that have turned green, that is what is called copper patina. The copper has reacted with the environment and formed a coating on the surface of the metal. Environmental conditions including sunlight, dust, and rain, especially acidic rain, can cause this effect.
The same sort of thing can happen when copper comes in contact with your skin if your skin is acidic. The natural acids in your skin combine with copper and make copper salts which are green. They are harmless and can simply be washed off. The copper salts actually form on the copper and are rubbing off on your skin. The green color results from an individual’s body chemistry at a particular time. This is why two people can wear the same ring and one person’s finger will turn green and the others will not.
A person can wear a copper bracelet one day with no green marks and the next day green marks might appear.
What does the green tell you?
The green color means that your skin has become more acidic and has dissolved copper from the jewelry piece faster than the body can absorb it. This usually happens when we sweat, when we are stressed, or even when we experience dietary changes.
When the body is in a state of homeostasis, the copper is absorbed through the skin at the same rate it is dissolved from the jewelry so there are no green marks.
I coat my copper pieces with Renaissance Wax which helps a great deal with slowing down both oxidation and patination, however the wax is not a permanent coating and with time and wear it will diminish.
Whatever your preference, wear that copper!! It is timeless and beautiful.
Here is a link to Part I of this post which originally appeared February 2014: