I don't know if anyone can answer this query, but I thought it worth
the time to ask. I've been pounding out a bunch of chain maille
bracelets in both copper and sterling for a couple upcoming shows,
and popped about six of each into my rotary tumbler yesterday before
heading out to run some errands.
Came back about two hours later to retrieve them and discovered that
all the copper color had been "washed out" from all the copper
bracelets!!! I had a similar experience with some 16 gauge copper
clasps I'd made a month or so ago; but the copper I had used then was
left over from a small spool I'd gotten at a hardware store a couple
years ago and was just trying to use up. My thought at the time was
that perhaps the copper sold in hardware stores was of a different
composition than the large spools I purchased from Rio. Apparently
As I always tumble my copper rings for a bit after I cut them, I
didn't think anything of leaving the bracelets in for the same length
of time as the sterling versions. Though it seems there's a critical
point for "copper washout".
Can anyone explain to me what I now have? Are my bracelets still
100% copper? Is copper even 100% copper, or have I been purchasing an
alloy?? I would have thought that copper color went all the way
through! Will they still tarnish in time?
I can't afford NOT to put these bracelets out, as I put a lot of
time and effort into making them, so will probably tag them as
"tumbled copper". But I'd like to have a story, other than stupidity,
to relate to anyone picking one up and wondering if it's sterling
(when placed next to a sterling bracelet, you can tell the metal is
definitely not sterling, but the bracelets are now a silver tone). I
can probably put a spin on the whole "tumbled copper" story, but it'd
be nice to have the metallurgical story as back up.
Karan, who once again learns the hard way! : )