How to Prevent your Metal from Tarnishing
It’s a common fact that when metals come into contact with water vapour in the air the rate at which the surface of the metal oxidises is increased dramatically; however there are ways to prevent this from occurring. Although the process of oxidisation cannot be reversed easily, you can rid your metals of its most obvious affects if you need to.
Preventing Silver from Tarnishing
Sterling silver is made up of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper, it’s the copper in this mixture that causes the silver to become dull, grey or brown; if the tarnish is not treated it will eventually form a black layer over the surface of your metal.
One method of preventing your sterling silver from tarnishing is to store it in a cool, dry dark place as it is the exposure to sulphur in the air that causes the copper in the sterling silver to tarnish.
You can also purchase strips of paper that have agents in them that absorb sulphur from in the air; this strips are anti-tarnish strips and are best placed in your jewellery box.
Caring for Brass – Preventing Oxidisation
Humidity plays a large part in the oxidisation of brass too, but unlike silver, salt in the air can also cause brass to deteriorate rapidly. It is the humidity in the air and the salt spray that affects the lacquer on the surface of the brass and allows oxygen to reach it much quicker than if it had not been exposed to water vapour or salt.
If your brass fittings, furniture or jewellery are on the interior of the house they should only require a light dusting and the occasional wash with lukewarm, soapy water. However, if your brass fittings are on the exterior of your house they can still be dusted lightly with a camel hair brush but they should also be polished once a week in order to prevent oxidisation.
Removing Rust from Iron Coins
Iron is particularly susceptible to oxidisation, although rust is quite destructive and will corrode the metal if it isn’t stopped quickly. However, there are ways to remove rust from antique iron coins and other pieces made out of iron without damaging the object.
One of the simplest tricks that you can utilise is to place your iron coins, jewellery or even nails in a glass of Coca Cola original for 12 hours – the acidity in the can of cola removes the rust from the surface of the coin and although it cannot restore what has been damaged, it should leave item looking completely clean and rust free.
Other method of removing rust from an object is to place it in petroleum oil for a few hours and then rubbing the surface of the object. This method is less pleasant than using the Coca Cola due to the smell of the petroleum.
For more information on looking after or recycling your metals you can get in touch with us here at Tyburn Metal; we’d be happy to help you with your questions and provide expert advice free of charge.