Brass jewelry is a popular option among enthusiasts who are looking for an affordable accessory yet has that elegance and luxurious vibe. However, the low cost of the accessory might lead someone to think—what’s the catch here? Yes, it’s not gold, but what value am I going to receive with such a price? Does brass tarnish? Is it even a good value for your money? If you have these concerns, then today’s topic is for just for you—I have prepared some basic information about brass, maintaining and cleaning them, and several of its advantages and disadvantages. So without further ado, let’s begin…
Solid Brass vs. Electroplated Brass
Solid brass or die-cast basically refers to metal alloys that comprise zinc and copper. Its physical characteristic is almost similar to bronze, with the exception of the metal alloy tin instead of zinc. Due to its hardness and durability, you may find brass commonly used in antique furnitures and fixtures in the 1800s and onwards. They’re also highly resistant to corrosion and easy to polish, making them an excellent use for jewelry and other accessories.
On the other hand, electroplated brass simply refers to the application of thin layers of metals on the surface of other metallic compounds through electroplating currents. The aim of this process is supposed to make the metal more aesthetically pleasing and resistant to depreciation. However, this won’t always be the case as soon as the plating starts to peel off.
With this being said—pure brass jewelry is more desirable than those that have undergone electroplating because you don’t have to worry about the coating coming off. Also, you don’t need to add any coating on its surface in the first place. You can allow the metallic compound to age naturally and restore its lustrous shine by simply applying polishing agents
Brass Jewelry Pros and Cons
Brass jewelry is very popular because of its close resemblance to bronze and gold. Once the accessories are deeply polished, it shines like gold, and you may not tell the difference when you put them side-by-side with solid brass. Another great thing about them is that they are way more affordable compared to gold. However, there’s another side of the coin, as they always say. Brass certainly has great advantages, but it has disadvantages as well that you have to take note of. Let’s take a look at each of them—
·It’s highly resistant to corrosion
·Brass jewelry doesn’t need much maintenance. As simple shine can restore its original elegance
·It is very durable that can last for many generations
·Aesthetically pleasing and has a similar luxurious vibe as gold
When it’s left unmaintained for many years, brass jewelry will tarnish over time. I will explain more on this in the next section
Its primary alloy, such as zinc and copper, are not exactly hypoallergenic. Therefore, it is essential that you are aware if you have any skin allergies before you buy jewelry made of brass
Does Brass Jewelry Tarnish
As mentioned in the previous section, brass jewelry tarnish if there’s no maintenance for years. As brass metals age, a rusting on specific parts of the jewelry forms, which is called a patina. It is basically the result of the oxidation of copper when exposed to harsh conditions. Since the core metal of brass is copper, you might also be wondering—does brass turn green? And does brass turn your skin green as well? Apparently, the answer is yes. Copper turns green if submerged or exposed frequently to water with high acidity levels. The discoloration may transfer to your, but it doesn’t pose any serious threat unless you have skin conditions.
However, the good news is that the wear and tear of brass jewelry may take time before it occurs. In addition, you can prevent wear and tear through proper care and preserve its lustrous for many years. In the next sections of the content, I will discuss the matter and provide you tips on how you can manage the aging of your brass jewelry.
How to Avoid Brass Jewelry Tarnish
Protecting your brass from the effects of wear and tear is rather a simple task to accomplish. The first level of care you have to mind is keeping your jewelry away from harsh elements such as water and prolonged exposure to the sun. Therefore, storing your brass accessory in a dry and cool area is essential to prevent the development of oxidation. Also, immediately wipe them with a dry cloth when they were exposed to water. With this being—proper storage and regular polishing of the metal is already sufficient in order to prevent them from depreciating.
Brass Jewelry Cleaning and Care
Cleaning your brass jewelry may seem a daunting task at first. However, such types of metal are the easiest to maintain compared to other forms of metal materials. It doesn’t need much attention, and you can preserve its beauty for years to come just by doing a few simple tricks, and here they are—
Is it Pure Brass or Brass-Plated?
First and foremost, you need to identify whether the jewelry is brass or brass-plated. And the reason why this is important is that the cleaning process varies depending on the metal alloys and processes used. If the accessory is brass, then cleaning them can be done with only warm water and soap. However, the coating may peel off if you try to wash brass-plated with soap or other detergents.
To determine the metal base, place a magnet on the surface of the jewelry. If the magnet sticks to the surface, it is solid brass. If it doesn’t, it is likely a brass-plated metal.
Was the Brass Lacquered Before?
Another reason why a brass may tarnish is that it wasn’t lacquered before. Brass or other forms of metal undergoes lacquer to prevent it from tarnishing. If some areas of the jewelry have been tarnished in any way, then it might mean that it wasn’t lacquered before. To be sure whether this is the case, you can bring them to your local metal finisher.
Any discoloration or rust on the accessory can easily be removed by applying a polishing agent. If the tarnishing is a little severe, you have to wash them first with warm water and soap. And then, brush off the rusting. Wipe the accessory, and dry it for several minutes before polishing it.
You can find tons of alternatives on the internet if you’re looking for cleaning agents that are specially made for brass. Some of the brands that I strongly recommend are as follow—Brasso Multi-Purpose Metal Polish, Wright’s Copper and Brass Cream, Flitz Brass and Copper Tarnish Remover, MAAS 914001 Metal Polish, and Twinkle Brass and Copper Cleaning Kit.
Homemade Cleaning Solution
There are homemade solutions you can do at home if you’re not comfortable with using chemicals in your accessories. Some of which includes the following ingredients you can typically find in your home—
·Flour, salt, and white vinegar solution
·Lemon and baking soda solution
·Lemon and salt solution
·Plain tomato paste
The good news is that the simple hacks and tricks I’ve mentioned above don’t only work in your accessories. You can only also apply them to any furniture and fixtures in your home that’s made of brass. As a result, you’ll make your home chic and elegant in addition to your sets of brass jewelry.
Frequently Asked Questions about Brass Jewelry
If it’s constantly exposed to extreme weathering, brass will tarnish and turn to green. Also, the greenish effect is caused by the discoloration of its core metal copper.
Although brass and bronze can easily be restored, it is highly recommendable that you remove the jewelry piece when you’re taking a bath, swimming, hot sauna, etc. By doing so, it would tarnish the brass jewelry much faster.
Generally, brass is safe. In fact, they’re commonly used in household fixtures such as staircase railings and doorknobs. However, its use as jewelry may lead to trigger allergies if the person has a skin condition.