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Cleaning Copper Wire

  My only fear is how it will look after some time (especially in
Florida) in salt air, extreme humidity, etc.  It will tarnish.  It
may look better that way, or my customer may hate it that way. 

Hi Cindy, About twenty years ago I did a decorative weaving of some
fine (thin) copper wire on a loom, interspersed with copper strips,
brass strips, rods, etc. In no time at all it developed the typical
brown color of tarnished copper. The piece hangs in my studio today,
and is just as brown and rich as ever. I have never attempted to
clean or polish it, as I believe it would be an exercise in futility.
And I don’t even have to worry about porous beads.

My feeling is that unless you can “sell” the client on the desirable
rich patina that will develop on the piece, you shouldn’t sell it. I
don’t really think there will be a practical way for a consumer to
try and keep such a piece bright and shiny. Any kind of coating to
seal the piece would probably rub off as the piece was worn.

As an afterthought… you might consider adapting your design for
fine (.999 pure, not sterling) silver wire… it is highly resistant
to reacting with the environment.

Hope this helps,

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

regardless of the copper piece i make–i make miniature chainmail,
using 24 gauge sterling and copper wire (polishing that is pretty
fun!)–i tell any customer to simply wear the copper often, as the
body’s own oils give the copper its own sheen…also, i tell any
customer to wear the necklace in the shower! (let the soap run over
the necklace, and let the water rinse through! the body’s own oils
will keep the necklace from going green) also, copper seems to turn
wrists necks green when the wearer is sweating–but the green washes
off only if the piece is not worn on a regular basis will the copper
go really brown–and even then, just wear it in the shower i made up a
card that details these little things to give out to anybody asking
about copper jewellery

hope that might help! erhard.