How do I care for my iron (mild steel) jewelry or belt buckles:
Always store your jewelry or buckle somewhere dry- preferably in a box or plastic bag, and not in the bathroom! The work has been coated with a strong wax that helps keep any rust from forming, however if any tarnish does develop, simply buff it off completely with steel wool or a plain scouring pad, then apply wax to the cleaned area.
If you live somewhere coastal or in a warm climate, the iron is more likely to react to the moisture and/or salt. Iron is an organic material and therefore the finish is living, meaning it will change and evolve according to the way it is worn and the elements it is exposed to. Take care of it as you might a favorite cast iron pan, occasionally cleaning off any discoloration and then resealing. Some options are furniture or paste wax, beeswax, micro crystalline wax, and in a pinch, beeswax based lip balm.
Buckles tend to have more dramatic shifts in finish than jewelry, likely because the wearer's natural oils actually help protect jewelry whereas the buckles are less likely to be in contact with skin, or only be in contact with sweating skin. (bike commuters/under t-shirts) Your iron piece will be personalized by your lifestyle and wear, and its finish will shift accordingly.
Always avoid spraying perfume, skin or hair products onto your jewelry or buckle as those contain chemicals that will affect any metals, no matter the type.
Avoid swimming with any iron/mild steel jewelry.
How do I care for my bronze, brass or silver jewelry?
Please store your jewelry in a dry box or plastic bag and away from any damp spaces including your bathroom. If tarnish appears on the natural silver finish, just polish off with a sunshine cloth available from any jewelry store or online. A great DIY trick my mom passed down to me is to take a little toothpaste to coat and clean the silver (do not do this on iron or steel) then rinse off with water and dry.
The same can be done for bronze or brass. However if there is a darkened finish on your piece, the toothpaste may remove it, so only use this trick on metals that you want to have in their natural, bright finish. Your blackened silver pieces will polish up on the edges with wear which is quite attractive. If for any reason your finish is stripped, please contact me to explore refinishing.