Many of my customers ask about how to keep their copper jewelry shiny and bright, and so today I am sharing my favorite method to clean, one that uses only natural ingredients you most likely have at home.
First thing you will need to do is make sure your metal is pure copper and not coated. Many jewelers use a sealant on their copper, and if this is the case, the below method won't be as effective. You will want to just shine that up with a polishing cloth. If the copper has a deliberate patina on it, the lemon juice will remove this, so I only recommend using this method on raw copper jewelry.
You will want to cut your lemon and squeeze the juice into a small bowl. One lemon should be plenty to clean your piece, I actually can clean 5-6 pieces from the juice of one lemon. If you have lemon juice in your fridge, you can use this too. I just like keeping fresh lemons around.
Pour a small amount of table salt into the lemon juice. Just enough to make a light paste.
Using a small brush (the freebie toothbrushes you get at the dentist or hotels are perfect for this), scoop up some of the paste and gently crub into the copper. If your piece is set in leather like the bracelet I used in the example below, work carefully to ensure you don't get the lemon juice and salt onto the leather.
Once you have achieved the shine you are looking for, rinse the paste off the piece, and dry thoroughly.
Copper has a tendency to darken with time, a phenomenon that many people enjoy, an aged patina can be beautiful on many designs and will highlight natural texture. But, if you are one of those people who loves the look of bright copper (and I am one of those people), you can easily restore shine in minutes.
Below are a grouping of items that have darkened a bit, the left is before a cleaning, and the right is after. You can get an even higher shine with a polishing cloth afterwards, but that isn't always necessary. In the pictures below, I did not use any other polishing besides the salt and lemon.
Here are some close up comparison, top row are the before, bottom row is after a little scrub.
I have also seen other acidic items that you can use if you don't have lemons on hand. Ketchup, Worcestershire Sauce and Tomato Juice have all been suggested to me. I am also curious, what methods have you tried that work well for your jewelry? Feel free to comment below!
Owner/Designer for Desert Daisy Jewelry. Crystal Enthusiast, Wanderer, Gypsy Soul.