NuGold, also known as Jeweler’s Brass, Red Brass or Merlin’s Gold, is a great color match to 14K yellow gold. It is a beautiful color with a nice weight to it.
NuGold is an alloy of copper and zinc and it will naturally tarnish when exposed to oxygen, like all copper based metals. Some people like the patina of tarnished NuGold and enjoy watching their piece slowly darken in color over time.
The tarnish is actually a protective coating for the brass, but if you prefer the shine of new, it is easy to do by tumbling or using some common household products if you don’t have a tumbler.
One way to clean NuGold is to create a paste by mixing 1 teaspoon of salt into ½ cup of white vinegar, stirring until combined. Then add enough flour to form a paste.
Focus on the areas covered with tarnish. Let rest for 10 minutes. Rinse under warm water. Buff dry or use a hair dryer or warm oven at 135º F for 20 minutes.
You can also create a solution from 1 pint of steaming hot water with 2 Tablespoons of salt and 2 Tablespoons of white vinegar dissolved in it. Use a rag or a toothbrush to gently rub the solution into the tarnished areas. Rinse and dry.
Ketchup is also a good cleaner for NuGold. Simply rub ketchup over the piece, focusing on the areas with the worst tarnish. Wipe the ketchup off, rinse and dry with a hair dryer or in a warm oven at 135º F for 20 minutes. The acid from the tomatoes is strong enough to dissolve the tarnish but too weak to damage the brass.
If your piece is heavily tarnished and tumbling or any of the above methods, do not work, you can place the piece in white vinegar and let it soak for 30 to 60 minutes and then scrub it with a toothbrush. Once it is clean, rinse with warm water and dry. This is a much more aggressive method and the piece may look a little raw looking until the patina slowly rebuilds.
All copper based metals should be rinsed well and thoroughly dried after cleaning. Like copper, if you store damp NuGold it will go dark black and then it will be harder to clean, if it can be at all.
NuGold, like copper, will tarnish at different rates for different people. It is the oils and PH from your skin along with the oxygen in that air that accelerates tarnishing. I can wear a piece of NuGold every day for months with it hardly tarnishing at all. My father could turn a piece black in 12 hours. Different results for different people, even within the same family.
There are some steps you can take to greatly slow down the tarnishing of copper or NuGold. First always make sure the piece is clean and dry when you store it. Storing your Copper or NuGold pieces in a ziplock bag with an anti-tarnishing strip or a piece of white chalk will help reduce moisture around the piece and slow tarnishing.
One of the best protections against tarnishing you can take is by protecting the piece by spraying a thin layer of Tuba spray over the piece. Most musical instrument stores sell tuba spray.
I use the one by G.J. Nikolas & Co. It is a fine air drying lacquer designed to protect tubas and other metal instruments with a clear coating. I hang my piece off a metal hanger on a tree branch outside. Do this on a non-windy day with an air temperature of between 60º and 90º F for best results. Spray with a steady back and forth motion until the piece is completely covered. Apply thinly. Then follow with a 2nd coat 15 minutes later. Let dry.
Pieces coated with Tuba Spray should be cleaned by wiping with a damp cloth and then drying by buffing or with the use of a hair dryer. Do not submerge in hot water. To remove the Tuba Spray from the piece, soak in lacquer thinner.
NuGold is a pretty economical way to add the look of 14K yellow gold to your jewelry creations. By following some simple care and preparation steps I think you will enjoy this pretty metal. Need an extra reason to test out nugold? Use this coupon code NUGOLD20 at checkout to save 20% off all nugold rings through May 20, 2017.
So if I have you excited to start working in NuGold, here is a great recipe for some No Bake High Energy Bars from our own Keeper of the Sanity & Customer Service Agent, Vikki to carry you through lots of chainmailling! They are low Iodine too for anyone on a low iodine diet.
1 ½ cups oats
¼ cup flax seed
¼ cup chia seed
½ cup dark chocolate chips or raisins
½ cup honey
¾ cup natural peanut butter
1 tsp almond or vanilla extract
Roll into 1” balls, chill and enjoy!