Are you looking for the answer to Does Zinc Alloy Jewelry Tarnish? You come to the right place. I also write a post on: Is zinc alloy hypoallergenic? If you are not so sure, click the link to read.
Isn’t it unnerving to spend your hard-earned money only to end up with very tarnished or even worse, rusty jewelry weeks after the purchase? Well, today we’ll explore one of the jewelry metals you might have bought, struggled with, and almost giving upon. We’re talking about jewelry made of zinc alloy.
Zinc alloy, in the world of jewelry, is one of the most popular jewelry making materials. Its popularity arises from its low cost, as well as its versatility.
Zinc alloy also referred to as the Tibetan Silver is an alloy of several elements including nickel and lead which means that if you are interested in Zinc alloy jewelry, you need to avoid the ones with either element – nickel is the biggest cause of allergies while lead is toxic.
The safer forms of zinc alloy are the best options for the jewelry since well-crafted zinc alloy makes excellent jewelry.
In case you are wondering, the main forms of zinc alloys are brass; a zinc alloy made of copper and zinc, and nickel silver that’s made of zinc and nickel-copper.
Of these two zinc alloys, brass is the most common in the jewelers’ world given its non-allergenic design, as well as its high degree of corrosion resistance. If you want to know more, you guys can read my last post: Is Zinc Alloy Hypoallergenic? ( Quick Pro Answer)
Let me answer a question for my readers( they often ask me): So what prices should I look forward to spending on that material? I mean if I want to buy zinc alloy jewelry.. what is the highest price I should consider paying?
Here is my answer: The price is very affordable. But jewelry design is very important. From my experience, you only need to pay a few dollars for one piece for zinc alloy jewelry. The highest price?? It is hard to tell. It depends on the designs and weight. You may not pay more than 50 dollars.
Check the following products price. if you want to know the price range(or want to save money), please click the pictures to check the price.
Does Zinc Alloy Jewelry Tarnish? Directly.
You might not like to hear this, but even if the zinc alloy jewelry you buy is free of nickel and/ or lead, the zinc alloy metal used to make your jewelry tarnishes and discolors, just like most other metals. But there’s some good news – the tarnishing doesn’t take place directly.
The reason for this is that the corrosion resistance of the zinc alloy comes from the fact that zinc exposed to the air will react with carbon dioxide forming a protective film which prevents further tarnishing while enhancing the longevity of the jewelry pieces.
Therefore, it means that you shouldn’t expect your zinc alloy jewelry to look tarnished too soon after purchase.
What causes the tarnishing of zinc alloys?
The tarnishing of the zinc alloy jewelry depends on a number of factors like the finish, metal content, and exposure to some environmental conditions. Therefore, depending on the conditions your jewelry is exposed to, tarnishing will either take place super-fast, or it could take months before you notice the changes.
- Oxidation and other reactions
Tarnishing of a zinc alloy could be the result of the reaction between nonmetallic compounds in the alloy’s surroundings. Oxygen, and consequently, oxidation is one of the biggest causes of tarnishing. Besides oxygen, the other culprits are sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide.
It’s also important to note that the corrosion of zinc alloys can be safe or active. Safe corrosion leaves the metal with a green, blue, brown, or black finish, and it occurs when the piece of jewelry has been kept clean.
Often the black or brown tarnish results from oxidation of the copper (for the zinc-copper alloy) and it’s not destructive; hence the term tarnish, easily removable through cleaning or polishing. The green tarnish, if continuous and also non-flaky, is also a form of safe corrosion.
Active corrosion, on the other hand, looks like green powder appearing like spots on your jewelry. These spots are also called the bronze disease, and it’s heightened by extreme humidity.
- Environmental elements
Extreme humidity and extreme temperatures are also known to speed up the rate of tarnishing in jewelry pieces made of stainless steel.
- Abrasions and Dents
If your zinc alloy jewelry is dented or abraded during handling, the resulting cracks will allow seepage of moisture, dirt and even cleaning products, eventually causing heavy corrosion and tarnishing.
Does zinc alloy jewelry change color?
Zinc alloys like brass (30% zinc and 70% copper) will change color from oxidation. Exposure to air (oxygen) causes a color change, and your jewelry might look black, brown, bluish, or greenish. Often these color changes take place even when you take good care of your jewelry.
Besides oxidation, the other cause of tarnishing and color change is contact with the skin, or rather, the beauty products you use on your skin.
The other cause of color change is corrosion from which results from the exposure of the alloy to water. Corrosion causes the pinkish or reddish splotches on jewelry.
Such as, you really should avoid buying these products(zinc alloy jewelry) on Amazon( You must be very careful), click the pictures to read the reviews
NOTE: When you buy jewelry online, please read the reviews carefully or ask the seller more questions.
How to clean zinc alloy jewelry?
If your brass necklace, pendant, earrings, ring, or bracelet is turning brownish or if it’s losing its luster, you could clean it easily with these options
- Using toothpaste
Get a soft-bristled toothbrush, apply a little toothpaste (non-gel) then gently clean your piece of jewelry. For the best results, allow the paste to lather before you apply the paste to your jewelry piece directly. Keep in mind that you might have to brush for longer if the metal has been discolored for too long. (if you do not have a soft-bristled toothbrush at home, you really should check this product, only a few bucks can solve all your problems)
Once you’re sure you’ve gotten rid of all the stubborn stains, rinse the piece thoroughly to remove all the paste residue and then dry out the piece of jewelry. You should also polish the jewelry piece after cleaning.
Alternatively, you could use fresh lemon juice mixed with baking soda into a paste. Using a soft cloth, apply the paste to the jewelry piece, working on the affected areas longer. When done, rinse off using warm water then towel dry it immediately. You don’t want your jewelry piece to suffer from water damage.
- Removing black deposits/ finish
If your piece of zinc alloy jewelry (brass) has black spots or a black finish on most or some areas, you can restore its previous gleam using a cotton bud that’s dipped in a nail polish remover. The remover will dissolve and remove the stain.
If the black finish or stain is widespread, you could dip the whole jewelry piece in a small bowl with the acetone-based remover, allow it to sit for a few minutes and then brush the stains off gently using a soft brush. After brushing, rinse and wipe dry the piece before storing.
To enhance the longevity of your brass/ zinc alloy jewelry, keep the pieces free of dust and clean the pieces often while limiting their exposure to water. Don’t forget to polish the pieces when done.
I hope you guys read this post. How to prevent gold plated jewelry from tarnishing?
You can learn more about jewelry care and cleaning.
Zinc alloy jewelry is beautiful, but it will only continue looking great if you take good care of the piece(s). So, clean off the tarnish soon, and if there’s corrosion or cracking, you might want to engage a professional conservator to take care of that piece.
If you guys have any questions, please let us know in the comment section, we will do our best to help you guys out. See you in the next post!