reduce, reuse, recycle
All of the copper wire I use in my creations is reclaimed from discarded electrical equipment and old wiring.
Some of the wire has an existing enamel coating (usually this wire has come from old transformers) and can vary in colour from one item to another. Some of it is raw copper (usually from electrical wiring) that has been left as is or to which I have applied a patina or verdigris. Depending on the design, I may give the finished piece a thin coating of protective clear wax.
If the copper has been left uncoated (raw copper) the surface will, over time, develop a darker patina. This patina can be left as a natural coating, which will help protect the copper, or it can be cleaned using the solution below.
On some pieces, the enamel coating may have small scratches that will expose the raw copper underneath. These pieces can also be cleaned using the raw copper solution.
The protective wax coating may develop small scratches and blemishes due to every-day use. The exposed raw copper will darken with time and this can be considered part of the rustic design.
Each item made from reclaimed copper will say what (if any) type of finish is on the copper.
To keep your jewellery clean, simply rinse with warm water and pat dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.
cleaning raw copper
If you prefer your raw copper nice and shiny, an effective, non-toxic cleaner can be made by adding a teaspoon of salt to half a cup of plain white vinegar.
Gently agitate the copper in the vinegar solution for a few seconds, then rinse well under running water and dry with a soft, lint-free cloth. Stubborn marks may require gentle rubbing with a cotton bud dipped in the cleaning solution. Always remember to rinse well, as vinegar solution left on the copper after cleaning will cause it to tarnish.
The cleaning solution can be kept in a sealed container and may be reused multiple times.
Warning: do not use this cleaning solution on items that have had a patina or verdigris applied – it will remove the colour and leave you with shiny raw copper.