Copper is a living element that reacts to its environment. When exposed to air or humidity it oxidizes, creating a greenish-blue patina as it ages. Sealing your copper electroformed jewelry can prevent that and slow the process down. It can also be useful to avoid green marks that copper rings leave on the skin. Read on to discover if you should seal your electroformed jewelry and how to do it.
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Should you seal your copper electroformed jewelry?
As I mentioned earlier, copper is a metal that oxidizes when exposed to the elements. This is something that cannot be stopped or changed in any way. But you can keep your copper electroformed jewelry shiny for a longer period of time if you seal it.
However, some artists do not like to seal their electroformed jewelry. Mostly because no sealant lasts forever. It means that even if you seal your jewelry, eventually the sealant will wear off and you’ll have to seal your item again.
I always seal my jewelry, and I think it does help to prevent oxidation and green marks on the skin. Even though pendants probably don’t really need sealing, I also like the shiny looks it gives to my electroformed jewelry. On top of that, it can help keep the patina longer.
The trickiest items are rings. When worn for long period of times, copper rings often leave a green mark on the skin. Especially in hot weather. Even though it disappears after a few hours, you don’t really want to sell jewelry that turns your customer’s skin green. For this reason, I believe it is helpful to seal everything you make.
If you seal your copper electroformed jewelry and store it properly, you will definitely keep it shiny longer. However, if you seal it and leave it exposed to the elements, I don’t think it will last very long. You can keep your jewelry in boxes or small plastic bags to protect it from air and sunlight. I find that this helps a lot in slowing down the oxidation process.
How to seal copper electroformed jewelry
There are several products you can use to seal your copper electroformed jewelry. Even though I only use Renaissance Wax, I did some research and found other products that might interest you. So, if you want to seal your electroformed jewelry, here are some products you can try using.
Renaissance Wax is the product I use, and I’m very satisfied with it. This wax has been used by museums for the preservation of precious items for many years. Renaissance Wax is easy to use and can be applied in just a few minutes with a soft cloth. It leaves a thin invisible coat on your item. You only need to apply a tiny bit of this wax on your copper jewelry to keep it shiny for weeks. You can apply it directly after electroforming or after patina.
How to use Renaissance Wax: Ensure your jewelry is dry, clean, and free from grease. Using a soft cloth, apply a thin coat of Renaissance Wax on your item. Polish to its full lustre. You can apply 2-3 coats of wax making sure you wait at least half an hour between each coat.
I’ve never used Protecta Clear, but I know many electroforming artists use it. Protecta Clear provides a crystal clear coating and was specifically formulated for use on unpainted or plated metals such as copper or brass. It is durable and provides long term protection from corrosion, oxidation, and rust. It is tough and invisible. This product also stops allergies and skin discoloration. It can be used on jewelry with patinas like Liver of Sulfur. Protecta Clear is very effective in retarding tarnish and oxidation. It even protects your jewelry against bleach, salt water and acid rain. I’ve only heard great things about this product!
How to use Protecta Clear: Make sure your surface is completely clean. Apply Protecta Clear with a brush, dip, or spray. Wait for it to dry.
Eternal Jewelry Coating is a durable and easy to use jewelry coating. What I like about this product, is that is was specifically made for jewelry. Eternal Jewelry Coating beautifies and protects jewelry from wear, tarnish, and prevents allergic reactions. This coating is easy to apply and can be used on electroformed jewelry that’s been oxidized with Liver of Sulfur. You also get a polishing cloth and a suede microfiber when you order this item.
How to use Eternal Jewelry Coating: Clean your item and make sure your buff out all blemishes. Brush a light coat of Eternal Jewelry Coating on your item. Let it fully dry. Use the polish rag to shine up your item.
You can use clear nail polish to prevent rings from turning the skin green. Simply paint the inside of the ring and voilà. This will create a layer between the ring and your skin, so the copper won’t react to anything. However, the layer will eventually wear off so you will need to reapply the nail polish every once in a while. Also, there is high chances clear nail polish will give your jewelry a glossy finish.
How to use clear nail polish: Clean your item. Apply a very light coat of nail polish on your jewelry. Let it fully dry.
Care tips for copper electroformed jewelry
Sealing your electroformed jewelry is not enough if you want to keep it shiny for a long time. You also need to store it properly. The best method is to store it in a sealable plastic bag or jewelry box with anti-tarnish paper. Before you put your jewelry in a box, make sure it is clean and moisture-free.
If you are selling your jewelry, remind your customer that the jewelry should not be exposed to water or any type of solvent. Also, copper electroformed jewelry should be removed before showering, bathing, or swimming.
Even though you don’t have to seal your copper electroformed jewelry, it can still help to prevent oxidation. Some sealants even protect against allergies, which is often a problem with copper jewelry.
I use Renaissance Wax, but if you want to try something else, I’d recommend Protecta Clear. It’s a long-lasting and durable product that will definitely keep your copper electroformed jewelry shiny for a long time. Once you’ve sealed your jewelry, don’t forget to put it away from air and humidity.
How do you seal your copper electroformed jewelry? Let me know in the comments below!