If you've ever noticed a green substance growing on your prized antique jewellery then you've already experienced verdigris.
Verdigris is a green coating that occurs when copper, brass or bronze are exposed to the elements. Verdigris usually comes in the form of copper carbonate, copper chloride or copper (II) acetate.
The horrible gunky green coating is actually a side effect of a type of corrosion that is occurring. Although it is possible to remove verdigris from your jewellery youll find that the very surface will still be damaged.
So how can you prevent such a disaster from occurring?
PreventionVerdigris occurs when antique jewellery is not properly cared for or protected from the elements. In order to avoid verdigris jewellery should be stored in a cool, dry place and never put away when still damp. Store your jewellery alongside silica gel packs to absorb any excess moisture.
Wherever possible it is best to avoid wearing jewellery to places like the beach where it may get wet or damaged.
Verdigris can spread from one piece of jewellery to another so its best to store each piece of jewellery separately so that if one piece contracts a nasty case of verdigris it doesn't pass it on to the rest of your collection too.
If you do notice unsightly green verdigris growing on your beautiful jewellery then don't worry all is not lost, it can be removed! Acidic substances such as lemon juice and vinegar can be used to remove verdigris.
Before you get to work soaking the affected areas its best to see how much you can rub off using just a toothbrush, clean cloth or toothpick. If you cant remove it all this way then soak the jewellery in lemon juice or vinegar for about 20 minutes and then gently rub the green gunk away.
Don't forget that sterling silver jewellery and pieces containing gemstones should never be submerged in liquid.