Iron is an organic material
Iron is low carbon mild steel that responds to its environment. Iron is an organic, living material which means it will change and evolve depending on the way it is worn and the elements it is exposed to. If you live somewhere coastal or in a warm climate, the iron is more likely to react to the moisture and/or salt. You can think of your iron jewelry or buckle similarly to your favorite cast iron pan, occasionally cleaning off any discoloration then resealing.
Maintain your Iron Jewelry or Buckle
Your iron jewelry or belt has already been coated with a strong wax that helps keep any rust from forming, but sometimes tarnish or rust can still develop. If tarnish does develop, simply buff it off completely with steel wool or a plain scouring pad, then apply wax to the cleaned area. Some wax options are furniture or paste wax, beeswax, or micro crystalline wax. In a pinch, you could even use some beeswax based lip balm you have lying around.
Don’t be afraid of your iron piece showing wear over time!
Iron pieces are special because the finish will shift and become personalized by your lifestyle and wear. Buckles tend to have more dramatic shifts in finish than jewelry, likely because the jewelry wearer’s natural oils actually help protect their jewelry’s finish. Iron buckles are less likely to be in contact with skin, or will only be in contact with sweaty skin (bike commuters, under t-shirts, worn during laborious work.) Your iron piece may shift in appearance over time, but this can give it a more interesting worn-in look.
How can I prevent damaging my iron piece?
- Always avoid spraying perfume, skin or hair products onto your jewelry or buckle as those contain chemicals that will affect any metals, regardless of the type.
- Avoid swimming with any iron jewelry.
- Store your jewelry or buckle somewhere dry, preferably in a box or plastic bag, and not in the bathroom!