Saturday, September 5, 2009

How to make copper jewelry truly shine

Here's how I clean all of the copper jewelry that I make and sell at

You'll need a few things:

Bottle of plain white vinegar
Baking Soda

Optional but totally awesome:
Jewelry tumbler with stainless steel shot and basic Dawn dish soap

Alright! To get started, take your old, tarnished, brown, yucky copper and put it in a small, shallow bowl. I use a 1/2 cup measuring bowl.

Pour enough vinegar into this bowl to cover your jewelry piece. Sprinkle 4 or 5 shakes of salt in. Now use your finger or other stirring utensil to stir your item around in the vinegar for about twenty to thirty seconds. You'll see it start to change color right before your eyes as the vinegar eats away the tarnish.

Warning! You do not want to do this process for very long. Don't let your jewelry sit in the vinegar over night or anything. Just a few seconds will do! People warn that vinegar will pit your copper. This is why we take the next step.

Neutralize that vinegar. At this point I remove the jewelry from the vinegar bath and run it under the faucet to rinse. I then pour a handful of baking soda into my hand put a little water in, and bathe that jewelry in the baking soda paste. Another warning! If you have especially fine jewelry or there are smooth expanses of metal in your jewelry, be warned that baking soda can scratch if you rub it in. A gentler method is to lay down the piece, sprinkle the soda over it, and rinse.

The things I make have lots and lots of crevices and no large smooth expanses, so I just go quick and easy baking soda in hand method.

Okay, rinse again! Dry thoroughly.

You will notice your jewelry is now exceptionally shiny. If you are a jewelry owner and not a jewelry maker, then you probably don't have a jewelry tumbler for the next part and that is okay! It just adds a super shiny sheen to it. For practical purposes, a quick vinegar bath is enough for most peoples' tastes. If you own any redpanda pieces, I offer a lifetime guarantee and I will gladly take back any copper jewelry and re-shine/tumble it for you for no charge.

If you have a rotary jewelry tumbler, put in your stainless shot and your jewelry piece, fill with water until there's about of water over your piece, and add a squirt of dish soap. Tumble for however long you normally tumble, rinse, and dry.

Voila! Beautiful, shiny, copper jewelry. Looks kind of like rose gold when it's this shiny and clean.

Here's a before and after picture for you.

copper jewelry before and after cleaning

Happy shining!