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  • Writer's pictureKatrine Høilund Holmgaard

Here's everything you need to know about bronze

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

Here's everything you need to know about bronze

What is bronze in jewelry?

Bronze is an alloy made of copper and tin, often with small amounts of other metals like zinc, lead, or nickel. It has been used in jewelry making for thousands of years due to its durability, malleability, and warm, earthy color.

Bronze jewelry can be found in a variety of styles and designs, ranging from minimalist and modern to ornate and intricate. It is often used as a more affordable alternative to precious metals like gold and silver. However, it is important to note that bronze can tarnish over time and may require special care to maintain its appearance.

Is bronze good to make jewelry from?

Bronze can be a good material for making jewelry for several reasons. It is durable and malleable, making it easy to work with and shape into different forms and designs. It is also less expensive than precious metals like gold or silver, making it a more affordable option for both jewelry makers and buyers.

Bronze has a warm, earthy color that can complement a variety of skin tones and clothing styles. It can be polished to a shine or left with a more natural patina, giving jewelry makers a range of aesthetic options.

However, it is important to note that bronze can tarnish over time, particularly if it comes into contact with moisture or certain chemicals. This may require special care to maintain the appearance of the jewelry. Additionally, some people may be allergic to the copper in bronze, so it may not be suitable for those with sensitive skin.

What is the difference between gold-plated bronze vs. not gold-plated?

Gold-plated bronze is bronze that has been coated with a thin layer of gold through a process called electroplating. The layer of gold is typically only a few microns thick, but it gives the bronze jewelry a gold-like appearance and a higher perceived value.

One of the main differences between gold-plated bronze and non-gold-plated bronze is its appearance. Gold-plated bronze has a shiny, metallic gold finish, while non-gold-plated bronze has a warm, earthy color that can range from light to dark depending on the alloy.

Another difference is the durability and resistance to tarnishing. Gold-plated bronze is generally more resistant to tarnish than non-gold-plated bronze because the layer of gold acts as a barrier against moisture and oxygen. However, the gold plating can wear off over time, exposing the bronze underneath and potentially causing the jewelry to tarnish or discolor.

Finally, there is also a difference in cost. Gold-plated bronze jewelry tends to be more expensive than non-gold-plated bronze because of the additional process of electroplating the gold onto the surface.

In summary, the main differences between gold-plated bronze and non-gold-plated bronze are appearance, durability, and cost. While gold-plated bronze may have a higher perceived value and be more resistant to tarnish, it is also more expensive and may require special care to maintain its appearance.

Does 18-karat gold-plated bronze last longer than normal gold-plated bronze?

Yes, 18-karat gold-plated bronze is likely to last longer than normal gold-plated bronze. The reason for this is that 18-karat gold is a higher quality and more durable material than the lower-karat gold typically used for gold plating.

Gold plating is a process where a thin layer of gold is applied to the surface of another metal, such as bronze. The thickness of the gold layer and the quality of the gold used can affect the longevity of the plating.

18-karat gold is made up of 75% gold and 25% other metals, such as copper or silver, which can increase its durability and resistance to tarnishing. In contrast, lower-karat gold, such as 14-karat or 10-karat gold, is made up of a higher percentage of other metals and may be more prone to tarnishing or wearing off over time.

Therefore, if you are considering purchasing gold-plated bronze jewelry and want it to last as long as possible, choosing 18-karat gold-plated bronze may be a better option than lower-karat gold-plated bronze. However, it's important to note that all gold plating will eventually wear off over time and will require re-plating if you want to maintain its appearance.

How do I maintain bronze jewelry?

Bronze jewelry requires some special care to keep it looking its best over time. Here are some tips for maintaining bronze jewelry:

  1. Keep it dry: Moisture can cause bronze jewelry to tarnish and lose its shine. Avoid wearing bronze jewelry in the shower or while swimming, and dry it thoroughly if it gets wet.

  2. Store it properly: Keep your bronze jewelry in a dry, cool place, away from direct sunlight. Store it in airtight bags or containers to prevent tarnishing.

  3. Avoid harsh chemicals: Bronze jewelry can be damaged by certain chemicals, such as perfumes, lotions, and cleaning products. Try to avoid getting these substances on your jewelry, and clean it with a soft, damp cloth instead of using harsh chemicals.

  4. Clean it regularly: To remove the tarnish and restore the shine to your bronze jewelry, you can clean it with a mixture of warm water and mild soap. Use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the jewelry, then rinse it thoroughly and dry it with a soft cloth.

  5. Consider professional cleaning: If your bronze jewelry is heavily tarnished or damaged, you may want to consider taking it to a professional jeweler for cleaning and repair.

By following these tips, you can help keep your bronze jewelry looking beautiful for years to come.

How do I clean bronze jewelry?

To clean bronze jewelry, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare a cleaning solution: Mix warm water and mild dish soap in a bowl.

  2. Soak the jewelry: Place the bronze jewelry in the cleaning solution and let it soak for a few minutes.

  3. Scrub the jewelry: Use a soft-bristled brush, such as a toothbrush, to gently scrub the jewelry. Pay attention to any crevices or details in the design.

  4. Rinse the jewelry: Rinse the jewelry thoroughly under running water to remove all soap residue.

  5. Dry the jewelry: Use a soft, clean cloth to dry the jewelry completely.

Note: Do not use harsh chemicals or abrasive materials, such as baking soda or vinegar, to clean bronze jewelry, as these can damage the metal. Also, avoid using ultrasonic cleaners, as they can damage the patina and texture of the bronze.

If the bronze jewelry is heavily tarnished, you can use a commercial bronze cleaner that is specifically formulated for this purpose. Be sure to follow the instructions on the cleaner carefully and use it in a well-ventilated area. After cleaning, rinse and dry the jewelry as described above.

With proper care and cleaning, your bronze jewelry can maintain its appearance and last for many years to come.


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