Yes. Your zinc alloy jewelry may turn brown, black, bluish, or greenish in time. The color change is caused by exposure to air, causing oxidation. The change in color of your zinc alloy jewelry is due to the reaction between nonmetallic compounds in the alloy’s surroundings. Oxygen is the typical perpetrator, but hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide can also cause your zinc alloy jewelry to change color.
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Does zinc alloy jewelry tarnish?
Zinc alloy jewelry is made from different types of metals. The two most commonly made zinc alloy jewelry are brass and nickel silver. Brass is from copper and zinc, while nickel silver is from nickel, copper, and zinc. The metals which make up your zinc alloy jewelry will tarnish on their own, so it is undeniable that your jewelry will eventually tarnish.
Zinc is a heavy metal, and when other metals form an alloy with it, the resulting alloy’s corrosion resistance increases. Zinc alloy jewelry tarnishes but not too quickly.
Zinc alloy jewelry tarnishes when it gets scratched or dented. The scratches or dents will allow moisture in and react with the metals causing discoloration or tarnishing. Dirt or cleaning products that may enter through the scratches can tarnish your zinc allow jewelry.
Exposure to specific environmental conditions like extreme temperatures or extreme humidity is also known to hasten the tarnishing of zinc alloy jewelry.
Does zinc alloy jewelry rust?
Zinc alloy jewelry rusts but at a meager rate. Zinc is actually used as a coating for jewelry because of its very slow rate of corrosion. Zinc corrodes at a rate of 1/30 to that of steel. The rate of rusting of your zinc alloy jewelry will depend on its environment. Frequent exposure to air and water can escalate the formation of rust on your zinc alloy jewelry.
Does zinc alloy jewelry turn your skin green?
Zinc alloy jewelry can turn your skin green. Jewelry, in general, is made up of metal alloys. Some of your jewelry’s metal components can cause the green discoloration on your skin when you wear them. The metals which can cause the skin to turn green are copper, nickel, and silver. Two types of zinc alloy jewelry are brass and nickel silver. Brass is usually made of copper and zinc, while nickel silver is a combination of copper, zinc, and nickel.
The green discoloration when wearing zinc alloy jewelry is caused by the metals’ reaction when they come in contact with your skin. When you perspire, acid salts in your sweat reacts with the metal components of your jewelry such as copper, in a process called oxidation, causing the skin in contact to turn green. The green discoloration may also be caused by the reaction of different lotions or perfumes that you apply on your skin to some metals of your zinc alloy jewelry. This reaction usually occurs when your environment is moist or humid.
While the zinc component in your zinc alloy jewelry protects it from corrosion, scratches on your jewelry through frequent use may expose the alloy’s more corrosive metals to air or moisture. The reaction of these metals to humidity may cause corrosion and tarnishing, creating a green discoloration of the skin in contact.
How to care for zinc alloy jewelry
Zinc alloy jewelry is versatile and beautiful. But as compared to other jewelry made of more precious metals, it is not very pricey, which may also be the reason why you would want to have more of it.
Zinc alloy jewelry does not tarnish or corrode easily because of its zinc component. But if you want your zinc alloy to look its best as long as possible, you must know how to take care of it.
To prevent your zinc alloy jewelry from tarnishing, avoid placing it on moist or wet areas when not in use. It would be best to store it in an airtight container. You can include a small sachet of silica gel in your jewelry container to absorb moisture that might still be present in it.
How to protect zinc alloy jewelry
Always store your zinc alloy jewelry in a dry place, or else you will be exposing it to conditions that can lead to corrosion or tarnishing. If you are not going to use your jewelry for a few days, keep it in a small and dry ziplock bag. When wiping your jewelry before storing, use only a soft cloth. Using abrasive fabrics may create scratches on your zinc alloy jewelry, exposing certain metals that might react with air or moisture, causing it to rust.
How to clean zinc alloy jewelry
You will notice that your zinc alloy jewelry will turn brown, black, or even lose its luster after quite some time. No worries, you might only need to clean it once in a while.
The cleaning agents that you can use to bring back the luster of your zinc alloy jewelry are common and can usually be found in your household. Here are some options that you can try to get back the brightness of your zinc alloy jewelry.
- Use a common household toothpaste.
If you see your zinc alloy jewelry or even only a part of it is tarnished, use an ordinary household toothpaste (non-gel types) to clean it. Clean the tarnished part by working the paste into a lather and applying it to the area that needs cleaning. You can use a soft-bristled toothbrush to concentrate on the part that is tarnished. Once cleaned of the discoloration, rinse thoroughly to make sure that there are no toothpaste residues. Then wipe dry to see the luster back on your zinc alloy jewelry.
As an alternative to toothpaste, you can combine fresh lemon juice and baking soda and make it into a paste. Apply your homemade cleaning paste onto the affected area of your jewelry. Once tarnish is removed, rinse with warm water then dry off with a towel.
- Use a nail polish remover.
Your brass jewelry may develop black spots over time. You can remove these black spots using a cotton bud dipped in nail polish remover. The black spots will dissolve in the remover, leaving no stain behind.
If the whole jewelry is almost covered with black spots, you may dip the whole thing into the nail polish remover and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, brush the stains off using a soft brush. After brushing, rinse your jewelry meticulously, making sure that all the stains are removed. Wipe dry with a soft cloth or towel.
Zinc alloy jewelry is a fine piece of jewelry to own. It will last you a long time without changing color, but once it does, you can apply easy methods and find common household materials to bring back its usual glow.