A lot of the metals I use in my jewelry designs include raw brass and raw copper. And by raw, I mean that there are no finishes applied to the metal, such as any patinas, antique finishes, or anti-tarnish treatments. I LOVE my metals raw. But by nature, raw brass and raw copper are both rather reactive to air and the oils on your skin, and therefore tarnish much quicker than sterling silver (which also tarnishes, but much slower). Personally, I love the natural aged patina that happens after wearing brass jewelry, but I also love a good golden gleam! Great news is, brass is super easy to polish!
I use Brasso. You can find it at Home Depot for around $2 and some change! It's so easy to use. It looks like this:
I just take an old pair of socks you no longer use. Make sure they are clean! I said old..not dirty. ;) Put them on your hands like mittens. Use one sock for the Brasso and the other sock for final buffing. I'm right handed so I use my right hand sock for the Brasso and left hand for buffing. Dip the tip of your index finger into the Brasso (its texture is like lotion which makes it relatively mess free! and you don't need much.."just a dot, not a lot" you know the saying if you have little ones). And just rub it directly onto the metal in a circular motion. You'll see the tarnish start to disappear (it's transferred onto the sock). Dab more Brasso as needed. Then do a final buff with your clean sock on the left hand. Voila! Your brass should now be gleaming like new!
See the photo below. On the left, is the tarnished brass bracelet. Right side has been polished with Brasso. And to illustrate how quick and easy it is to polish, I finished this bracelet in less than a minute. It's not much trouble and a very small price to pay to go with raw brass (versus gold plated..which brasso cannot untarnish). It is affordable, tarnishes beautifully, and can be polished beautifully (and easily)!
The cool thing about this stuff is that it also works on several other metals: copper, stainless, chrome, aluminum, pewter, and bronze. But do not use it on plated metals or metals that have artificial patinas or anti-tarnish finishes on them, and do not use on stones.
Next up, I'll share my homemade sterling silver polish. You won't believe how easy it is..it's seriously like magic! But really, it's just chemistry. ;)
This post came about after fielding several questions from customers. So as always, let me know in the comments if you have any other questions about jewelry or metals or stones! I love sharing my knowledge about these things and if I don't know the answer, I will find it!
Have a happy weekend!!