How to Seal Copper Jewelry

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Copper locket
Copper locket (Image: copper pendant image by Allyson Ricketts from Fotolia.com)

Copper, which is one of the least expensive metals used in jewelry making, is also a little difficult to keep looking new. Copper jewelry often oxidizes, or tarnishes, by turning green. This is usually due to age or environment, but can also happen in reaction to a person's body chemistry. Some people can wear unsealed copper with no ill effects, while others may experience copper oxidation after wearing a copper jewelry piece for a single day. To avoid oxidation and keep copper looking new, the copper must be sealed.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • Bowl
  • Copper jewelry
  • Water
  • Baking soda
  • Clear lacquer
  • Latex gloves

Create a cleaning solution to remove all oils from the surface of the copper jewelry. Mix 1 tablespoon of salt into 1 cup of lemon juice and let the salt dissolve. Pour the mixture into a bowl.

Put the copper jewelry into the lemon juice solution for a brief moment, then rinse it off with water.

Rub a small amount of baking soda all over the surface of the copper to neutralize the acid from the lemon juice solution. Rinse the baking soda off the jewelry.

Choose a clear lacquer. You can use a simple art product like Krylon Crystal Clear spray, or you can use a metal sealant like Everbrite Protective Coating.

Lay out your copper jewelry piece on a protected work surface in a well-ventilated room or outdoors.

Coat one side of the copper jewelry with your chosen lacquer. If you are using a spray lacquer, shake the can well before use and apply the spray in a smooth back-and-forth motion. If you are using a brush-on lacquer, use small, even strokes. Let the lacquer dry.

Turn the copper jewelry piece over and coat the other side with lacquer. Let the lacquer dry again.

Tips & Warnings

  • Put on a pair of latex gloves to avoid contaminating the copper jewelry with your skin oils.
  • You can also clean the surface of your copper with vinegar.
  • Do not use this method on copper jewelry that has gemstones. You must first remove the gemstones from their settings.
  • If you choose to work with a metal sealant, make sure to wear goggles and a face mask. The chemicals in this type of coating are highly toxic.

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