You may have your eye on a antique bronze neckace or pair of earrings, but you’ve never owned bronze jewelry before. Before you make a purchase, you should learn the potential drawbacks of bronze jewelry. Bronze is an alloy of other metals, often including copper, zinc, tin and nickel. If you want to wear bronze, make sure that you know how your skin will react to it.
Bronze Has a Tendency to Oxidation.
If you decide to own bronze jewelry, you will have to take care to keep it dry and clean it on a regular basis because bronze is prone to oxidation. This means that the metals in bronze will tarnish or develop a green patina with time as the bronze is exposed to moisture and oxygen. The only thing that prevents bronze jewelry from turning dark and developing a green patina is varnish. You will have to carefully polish your bronze jewelry on a regular basis with a soft, dry towel or cloth to protect the varnish and prevent oxidation. Some jewelry cleaners and even rough towels may scrape your varnish right off. If you have damaged the varnish on your bronze jewelry, you may be able to clean the effects of oxidation away and re-apply the varnish, but doing this on a regular basis will weaken your jewelry.
Bronze Irritates People with Nickel Allergies.
Many bronze mixes have nickel in them. Nickel allergies are very common and affect six in every 100 people, according to reports from New York University’s Department of Dermatology. A nickel allergy could provoke uncomfortable rashes, swelling, red eyes, itching or even black skin discoloration. These effects may last up to a month after the wearer removes the offending jewelry. It is important to note that pierced ear earrings can trigger nickel allergies in people who previously did not suffer from metal allergies. If you have only a mild nickel allergy, you can coat your bronze jewelry in clear nail polish. This polish will protect you from exposure to the nickel and may also prevent your jewelry from oxidation. It may also leave an unattractive glossy finish on your jewelry, though.
Bronze May Turn Your Skin Green.
Bronze jewelry often contains copper, which will turn your skin green whether you have an allergy or not. Bronze and copper turn your skin green because when the copper reacts with your sweat and the acids from your skin, it produces copper chloride. Copper chloride is a green substance that then rubs off on your skin. If you are prone to sweating, your bronze jewelry will definitely turn your skin green. This chemical reaction can also be prevented by painting any part of the jewelry that comes in contact with your skin with clear nail polish.
References and ResourcesJewelry Affaire: Caring for Bronze
Simply Whispers: Academy of Dermatology News Releases
JRank: Uses of Copper