I like to test my new designs by wearing them for a while. How does the weight of the piece feel? How does it sit on my neck or on my ears? And in the case of my new bronze and copper clay beads, how quickly do they oxidize (tarnish) when worn against the skin, or when left out by the sink in the bathroom or wherever I have taken them off and laid them down. (I’m not real careful with my own jewelry, which can end up being a form of quality control.)
This 16″ knotted necklace of silver, copper and bronze flat beads is one I have been wearing all weekend. The silver beads are fine silver (99.9% pure silver), so they do not oxidize as quickly as sterling silver, because they do not contain any copper. Copper?! Were my buffed-to-a-shine copper beads starting to darken a little? And their bronze sisters, an alloy of copper and tin, were they starting to lose their golden glow? Hmmm, would my skin turn green under the copper beads if I started to perspire? (While it’s not hot yet in Maine, it is almost summer…) I need to wear this prototype for a while longer to answer my questions.
I also want to test something else. I applied Renaissance Wax to the beads on one side of the necklace to see if it will keep them from oxidizing so quickly. I’ve read of using Renaissance Wax on jewelry to preserve a patina. I’ve used a similar wax (Butcher’s Wax) to protect and preserve specifically oxidized areas on a silver piece. The Renaissance label reads, “Refined waxes blended to a formula used by the British Museum and restoration specialists internationally to revive and protect valuable furniture, leather, paintings, metals, marble, ivory and many other surfaces both housed and exposed to weather.” (Sounds like a multi-tasker!)
Not only am I testing the wax for preventing oxidation on the copper and bronze, I want to know what will happen to my skin when exposed to the waxed surface of the beads for hours at a time. Stay tuned. I hope the wax does everything I want it to do, and nothing I don’t want it to do!