Hello Josh Powell,
Re: I’ve just received a total of 8 pieces of jewelry in sterling,
gold, 'white' metal, and brass from one woman with the request
that I coat it with a protective shellac to prevent it from
turning her clothes black. I've had to make the assumption that
some substance in her clothing has to be causing all these
metals to oxidize so rapidly. If so, it should be a common problem
with a simple solution. Is there a way to prevent this without
coating the jewelry?
I wonder if your customer wears the jewelry against bare skin as
well. If she wears cosmetics - specifically powder or rouge - the
jewelry may well pick up the cosmetic material and transfer it (along
with fine metallic particles) onto clothing. Another possibility is
that powder may fall onto her clothing, rendering it a polishing
cloth. Powders and rouges make fine polishing agents for jewelry.
Just rub a red lipstick on a cloth and then use it to buff gold or
silver, then rub the jewelry on a clean cloth; it will leave a black
mark. Try cleaning the jewelry thoroughly to remove cosmetics and
body oils, then have her wear it only over clothing with no skin
contact to see if cosmetics are the cause. You can certainly put a
very good laquer coating on the jewelry, but she should be aware that
movable parts (chains, links) will wear through the coating quickly.
Then it may be necessary to remove the damaged coating and re-coat.
Body oils will also attack most coatings over time. If she presists
in wanting the coating, at least she is aware of its limitations. Let
us know how this plays out, OK? Judy in Kansas
Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
221 Call Hall Kansas State Univerisity
Manhattan KS 66506
(785) 532-1213 FAX (785) 532-5681