May 02, 2011

Mood. | Brass Care

I love the look of brass (both darkened brass and raw brass), and most of my newly listed Etsy shop items reflect this infatuation. These pieces are safe to wear, as they are lead-free and nickel-free. I spent the better part of the last few weeks researching lead in brass (yes, it's prevalent!), and made the decision to offer only lead-free and nickel-free brass. However, some brass items that I may offer in the future are only lead-free, which I will clearly note in the listing's description. This contemplative decision left me with fewer options, in terms of designs to choose from, which was a downer--but I am content in my decision to offer non-toxic brass.

A note on my brass pieces:

~Brass may turn your skin green over time (non-harmful), and WILL tarnish (turn a dull-brown color) over time. These are chemical reactions between brass and your skin (the green color) and the air (tarnishing), and are completely normal occurrences that are sped up in humid climates. But don't let this deter you from wearing it! Brass is an affordable alternative to gold and silver--it is beautiful, durable, and does not oxidize. I also think that the tarnished color looks beautifully rustic, with a rich patina.

HOWEVER, brass should only be worn by preteens and older (and never put brass in your mouth), since trace elements of lead may be present in lead-free brass. There is also a metallic scent to brass (like copper), which is not for everyone. For the young folk, those with sensitive skin and noses, metal allergies, and those who are wary of toxic substances, I recommend sterling silver (more expensive, but is a more hypoallergenic metal than brass).

Like with all other pieces of jewelry, handle brass pendants with care--and do not put them in contact with lotions, hair gel/hairspray, perfume, etc.  DON'T wear your brass pieces in the shower or pool, and try your best to keep them dry. If you do get brass wet, dry thoroughly ASAP to keep the brass from tarnishing. Keep brass jewelry in an airtight jewelry box/baggie when not worn to prevent tarnishing.

If you fear your skin turning green from brass, I have some tried and true alternatives: wear the pendants with a crew-neck t-shirt or atop a sweater or sweatshirt, and/or wear brass pendants with a silver or gold chain. In other words, don't let brass touch your skin.

Care instructions:
 I recommend NOT cleaning your pieces to allow the natural, rich patina to develop.  But in case you do want to clean your brass, please read below.

~My darkened brass pieces (the non-golden-colored ones that are black/deep brown in color) can be wiped with a soft cloth or Q-tip after you wear it, but do not wipe these pieces with any abrasive materials or solvents--as the finish WILL come off. The finish will mellow over time with wear; this a normal occurrence. The dark finish is sealed in a thin covering layer of protective wax, but will wear off if handled/worn roughly. Do NOT use any brass polishing cloths or pads with darkened brass. (Thank you Fallen Angel Brass!)

~To clean plated, non-darkened brass (they are dark, golden-colored--including the jump rings), use a soft cloth or Q-tip to gently rub these pieces. This will remove the green tarnish that may build up over time.  These pieces have a clear, protective lacquer on them to delay the inevitable tarnishing.  Do NOT use any brass polishing cloths or pads, as these may remove the protective lacquer.

~ To clean raw brass (bright, shiny, golden color with NO plating--I list these items as such in my shop), you can use a brass polishing cloth or pad, or soak the piece in ketchup for a few minutes.  If you use ketchup, please check on the brass every few minutes or so--and when the piece is your desired color, rinse with water, drying thoroughly.  Since raw brass is NOT plated, you don't have to worry about the plating/finish coming off the brass.  Raw brass tarnishes the easiest.

* PLEASE DO NOT clean your any of brass items with solvent (including alcohol), as it will remove the sealant on the darkened and antique-plated brass pieces, and will accelerate the tarnish process.

Keep all solvents and cleaning agents (including ketchup!) AWAY from stones.
Clean at your own risk--I recommend cleaning your jewelry ONLY if it is very visibly tarnished or oxidized.  Not cleaning it, aka allowing the natural tarnish to occur, is even better! *

* * *

Influences of the moment:
~The Victorian era
~The Art Deco period
~Spring weddings

Common theme: Dark, translucent mood.
A little gothic, a little swinging '20's. Uplifting, yet grounding. Nostalgic and modern at the same time. Slightly imperfect, but oh so charming!

--- - -- - - - - - -- ---- -- - - - ------ -- - - - - ---- - ---- - - - - ----- - - - - ---- -- --- -- - - - -- --- - - - - ---- - --
A nice bookend to leave you with:
New, moody, and absolutely beautiful Treasury that features my Love--Two Moonstone Pebble Pendants (matches my inspiration to a tee--very good timing and like-mindedness):

'The Color of Night' by lunarbelle

Vintage Long Cool W...

MASK - art print

Vintage ORIGINAL Mo...

Lunar Cult

Vintage Art Deco Al...

Resting on the x,y ...

La plume - Mini pri...

Elegant, Flower Bro...

Organic Beach Bath ...

Vintage 1940s ROSEB...

Black Pleated Tote ...

Night Life Beaded N...

Love--Two Moonstone...

moonlit garden ...

Kikyo hoops - hand ...

When god is busy

No comments: