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When it comes to jewelry making, zinc is a very popular material.
It is not that expensive, which makes it one of the favorite choices of jewelry makers and jewelry lovers.
On top of that, it is a very versatile material, giving birth to freedom in design.
There are some questions to ask before you spend money on zinc jewelry, though.
You’d like to know if it tarnishes, and how to clean and maintain your jewelry pieces.
Below, you will find out more details about zinc alloy jewelry, so let’s get started!
Does Zinc Alloy Jewelry Tarnish?
Sadly, zinc is not the tarnish-free material you might be dreaming of.
In fact, tarnish will occur as time goes by.
It happens even if your jewelry pieces contain no lead or nickel.
Just like 925 sterling silver, zinc alloy jewelry does tarnish.
However, the tarnishing process doesn’t realize directly.
Many confuse brass jewelry with zinc alloy jewelry and think it is another element.
But, brass is not an element: it does not have place on the periodic table, naturely.
Brass is an alloy of copper and brass.
These latter two are elements, with atomic numbers of 29 and 30, respectively.
Basically, the zinc alloy has corrosion resistance.
As such, when zinc alloy jewelry is exposed in the air, it will cause a reaction with the carbon dioxide.
Consequently, it will form a protective film.
This will stop more tarnishing from occurring.
Moreover, it will make your jewelry pieces last for longer.
So even if it tarnishes, it won’t happen immediately after day 1.
However, it is important to note that the tarnishing of the zinc alloy material will be affected by the environmental conditions you expose it to.
The metal content will also influence how fast your zinc alloy tarnishes.
This is why tarnishing could either shortly or a long time after you buy it.
It may take even months before you notice something.
If you keep it in humid environments, then you will speed up the tarnishing process.
If you don’t want this to happen, you need to be cautious when storing your jewelry.
Other than that, oxidation could be the main cause of your zinc alloy jewelry tarnishing.
The other factors that join oxygen in causing tarnish, are hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide.
You should also be aware of the different effects that the corrosion processes leave on the surface of the metal.
For instance, if safe corrosion is occurring, then the metal will end up with a blue, green, brown, or black finish.
This happens if the jewelry piece has been kept clean.
What’s great is that the brown or black tarnish will not ruin your jewelry.
Since it’s tarnished, it can be removed if you clean and polish your jewelry.
Active corrosion is a little different, as it can appear on your jewelry in the form of green powder spots.
If you keep your jewelry in humid environments, it may speed up the process.
Does Zinc Alloy Jewelry Change Color?
Zinc alloy jewelry can change color, and it happens due to the oxidation process.
After being exposed to air, your zinc alloy jewelry will change to either blue, green, black, or brown.
If you take care of your jewelry, and it still changes color, don’t worry – it’s normal.
The tarnishing process will occur no matter how much you care for your jewelry pieces.
However, oxidation is not the only thing that may cause the zinc pieces to change color.
Contact with your skin will also be a factor in the color change.
Next to your skin, the beauty products you use will be just as “guilty” for the color-changing process.
If you also expose your jewelry to water, then corrosion will quicken the color change.
It may end up in red or pink spots on your jewelry.
Does zinc alloy jewelry rust?
Although the material can tarnish over time, it will not rust.
On the surface of contact, zinc atoms will form a new molecule with oxygen called zinc oxide.
These new molecules will form a layer which will protect the inner metal for a long time.
Zinc alloy is one of the materials used in jewelry that doesn’t rust – so, you don’t have to worry about anything in this regard.
You will only have to remove tarnish now and then.
How to Clean Zinc Alloy Jewelry?
Cleaning zinc alloy jewelry is easy because you only need things that you already have in your home.
For instance, plain white toothpaste is one of the most common things used in cleaning zinc jewelry.
You also need a soft toothbrush.
Apply some toothpaste on the jewelry and then gently rub it.
One trick you could use is allowing the toothpaste some time to lather before you apply it directly to the piece.
If you also had the jewelry piece discolored for a long time, then you may have to spend more time brushing it.
Once you remove everything, rinse the jewelry to remove the paste and let it dry.
Another thing that you could do is to use some nail polish remover with a cotton bud, in case there are black spots or black finish on your jewelry.
Due to the properties of the nail polish remover, the stain will get dissolved.
In case the black stain or finish is already widespread, you should maybe dip the entire piece in nail polish remover, as the acetone will allow the stain to go away.
Let it sit for some time, and then remove the stains with a soft brush.
You should make sure to take care of your jewelry often.
You can do so by wiping the dust and not expose the pieces to water.
When you’re done, polish the jewelry.
Can Zinc Alloy Jewelry Turn Your Skin Green?
Yes, zinc alloy jewelry will turn your skin green, but it also depends on how long you are wearing the piece.
When your skin becomes green as a result of wearing zinc alloy jewelry, it is usually because of the copper in the composition.
This is normal when copper comes in contact with the skin, so don’t worry too much about it.
Your skin will go back to usual after you stop wearing the piece, and it will not be harmful to your health either.
Even so, although the zinc alloy will turn your skin green, it will not happen immediately.
It will take some time for the process to occur, depending on the composition and the exposure to carbon dioxide.
Basically, when zinc is exposed to carbon dioxide in the air, a protective film will be created, one that prevents any other reaction from the metal to occur.
So, if you get a high-quality zinc alloy jewelry piece and this happens, it will take slower for it to turn your skin green.
This is great if you want something that stays in good condition for a longer time.
The Bottom Line
If you want to buy zinc jewelry pieces yet don’t know too much about this material; we hope our article helped you.
It’s essential to know whether the material can tarnish or rust or turn your skin green over time.
Make sure that you purchase high-quality zinc jewelry that doesn’t lose their polish too quickly.
More importantly, you should always maintain your jewelry and remove any potential tarnish.
As you can see, you only need some toothpaste, and your jewelry will shine again.
Use these tips to your advantage and ensure that your beloved jewelry pieces will look good for a long, long time.