Although bronze, an alloy typically made of copper and tin, may rouse images of ancient times, it makes a timeless statement even in today’s fashion world. Whether you have a new or vintage accessory, bronze jewelry lends your ensemble a touch of subdued dignity, offering an earthier, less glitzy tone than gold or silver. Bronze is tougher than its cousin copper and resists corrosion. But it’s not immune to a little grime, which you can remove with common household items.
Things You'll Need
Remove dust and light grime from the piece by buffing it in a circular motion with a clean cotton rag. To remove dirt and dust from details and crevices, brush the item with a soft, round-bristled artist’s brush.
Add 1 teaspoon of salt to a cup of white vinegar and allow the salt to dissolve. Stir in a teaspoon of flour to create a pastelike consistency.
Dab a clean cotton rag — or any other type of lint-free, nonabrasive cloth — into the paste and apply it to the bronze. Carefully avoid covering any gems, precious stones or other non-bronze accents on the jewelry. Rub the paste into the bronze using a circular motion. After you’ve covered the surface of the bronze, allow the piece to rest for about 20 minutes.
Rinse the jewelry with clean, warm water and dry it completely with a clean cotton rag or lint-free nonabrasive cloth. Repeat the cleaning process as necessary.
Don’t panic if your bronze jewelry has developed a green or blue tarnish — this is a natural protective element known as patina. It usually occurs only on bronze objects left outside and may actually add value and texture to a piece.
As an alternative to the salt, vinegar and flour paste, you can create a cleaner made of 2 tablespoons baking soda and enough lemon juice to form a paste. Apply the paste just as you would a salt, vinegar and flour mixture.
Line your jewelry box with anti-tarnish strips, available at jewelers, to prevent tarnish from forming on your bronze pieces. These strips also protect brass, copper, gold, pewter, silver and tin items.
References and ResourcesEncyclopedia Britannica: Bronze
Blitz: How to Clean and Care for Bronze
Dimensions Thru Art: Care of Bronze Sculptures
Simply Living Jewelry: Care, Storage, Cleaning
ResourcesVictoria and Albert Museum: Caring for Your Copper, Brass, Bronze and Other Alloys
Reader's Digest: How to Clean Jewelry at Home