Folksy Ltd

Lacquer for copper jewellery

I wonder if anyone out there can help me?

I’m looking for a clear lacquer to apply to copper jewellery after I’ve treated it in various ways, to preserve it as it is at the moment I finish it. I thought I’d found the perfect stuff (which is usually used for brass musical instruments), but it’s only available in the US, and can’t be shipped by air. Does anyone know of a suitable alternative that’s available in the UK?

Thank you in advance


I’ve used both renaissance wax and clear nail polish.The clear nail polish only needs a thin coat or it can craze and flake (so not ideal for anything that might be flexed like bangles as that can cause it to crack) but it hasn’t affected the heat induced colour changes and will have undergone the appropriate cosmetic safety testing so is presumably safe next to the skin (this is what I tend to use on earrings or pendants but mine would have silver hooks or chains). I’ve used nail polish to seal silver items I’ve oxidised to minimise wear to the finish but not tried it on any other applied patinas for either silver or copper.
I got a few greenish marks on my wrist whilst wearing a cuff that I’d treated with the renaissance wax which was not ideal but it does not flake or craze if the metal is flexed, I don’t know what safety testing it has been through (it was developed to protect metal objects in museums) but my wrist did not experience any adverse effects to the cuff. The wax does apparently attract dust over time. I’ve not tried it on any other patinas than the heat induced colour changes so I don’t know how it would affect them.
Hope that’s useful.

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I use Protectaclear. Though apparantly you only get green if your body is missing certain minerals.

Thank you ladies. I shall revert to my scientist roots and try an experiment!

I’m watching this thread with interest as I was thinking about making an oxidized piece from copper for myself using some cabs that came from old brooches my grandmother used to wear.

Sam x

I have lots of different ideas for playing with copper, but there’s no point getting too excited unless I can preserve what I make: ironically that seems to be the hardest part to solve at the moment!

Both the protectaclear and nail varnish are solvent based so if you have used any solvent based pigments to achieve your finish then they might redissolve and alter it. I’m unsure what they might do to an effect achieved with waxes - I think that might affect the adhesion of the lacquer to the metal so they might flake off more readily. If you are planning some good old fashioned chemistry to achieve the finish (eg ammonia to give blue or acetic acid to give a greeny finish) then the solvent based products should be fine. I’d do some tests first on some extra metal to see how the sealant affects the finish before applying it on your finished piece.

Yes, Sasha: it’s the chemicals! I thought that if we ever get a summer, I could experiment in the back garden as the last time I used liver of sulphur I was fine with the smell but the rest of my household were not! I wanted to try out some different finishes, and maybe mix and match, and just generally have some fun: I’ve seen some beautiful blues from ammonia, and some other shades that sound trickier but maybe worthwhile. I think this is the closest I’ve got to using my chemistry qualifications in about 30 years! I was planning to make a few samples and see where I can get to.