Corrosion & Jewelry: The Bully & The Victim
Science can be confusing. There’s an endless set of laws and theories involved, numbers to remember and chemical reactions to observe.
Unfortunately, CORROSION is a scientific process. It plagues the jewelry industry and destroys items of value, causing headaches, stress and financial losses.
CORROSION is the enemy!
If you’re not a scientist, but want a fuller understanding of this persistent enemy, then this article is for you!
I’m going to break down corrosion (tarnish) and various methods of corrosion protection with a traditional analogy:
A Bully, his Victim and an Interloper.
NOTE: By no means do we mean to make light of bullying or its devastating effects. We feel that this analogy provides a simplistic way to comprehend corrosion. If you or someone you know is being bullied, visit www.stopbullying.gov/resources for more info on how to properly deal with the situation.
The Corresponding Roles
We’ve talked at length about the causes of corrosion. Put simply, the most common causes of corrosion are:
- Corrosive Gases (Sulfuric Gases)
The metals that degrade by way of corrosion are the bully’s victims:
- Non-Ferrous Metals
The form of corrosion protection used to protect metals can be thought of as the interloper:
- Conversion Coatings / Plating’s
- Charcoal Paper
- Volatile Corrosion Protection
- Intercept Technology
These are the third parties who stand in-between the bully and his victim in an attempt to stop the caustic process.
Conversion Coatings / Plating’s
A common method of corrosion protection in the jewelry industry is Conversion Coatings / Plating’s. We’ve mentioned them before. Conversion coatings are chemical and electro-chemical processes in which a metal’s surface is converted into a derivative that’s more suited for corrosion inhibition.
In this analogy, a conversion coating is an interloper who attempts to train the victim to defend himself. He gives him defense tactics, informing him of what to do when faced with the bully.
Conversion coatings are ineffective though for a few reasons. They wear away quickly when faced with friction, can strip the surface area of the metal they’re coated on and prove extremely difficult to remove.
Once Rhodium or other plating’s are applied to the surface area of a piece of jewelry, they change its color and appearance. As the coating begins to wear away, the metal's color seems off and
unattractive. This results in the need for additional recoating’s, which can get expensive.
This means that over the course of time, the conversion coating’s attempts to train the victim will be in vain.
In essence, the conversion coating / plating CHARGES THE VICTIM for lessons in self-defense, only to abandon him after a set period of time.
The conversion coating / plating is similar to a soldier of fortune!
The persisting bully will overcome the victim’s new defense strategies and continue to affect him.
Volatile Corrosion Protection
Volatile Corrosion Protection incorporates any compound-releasing storage materials that attempt to stop the corrosion and oxidation of ferrous & non-ferrous metals.
VCP’s emit a vapor when stored in packaging. They coat the metal inside, forming a barrier. While VCP's claim to protect metals from corrosion, in reality they compromise the metal's integrity.
In our analogy, the VCP interloper initially defends the victim, following him everywhere he goes. Anytime the bully strikes, the VCP interloper is there to defend him. However, over the course of time, the interloper begins to “smother” our victim. His ongoing presence becomes just as much as a negative effect on the victim as the bully’s torments!
This is because VCP’s contain volatiles. The compounds released by VCP’s are oily, ineffective at preventing corrosion and their ingredients are mostly unknown. As a matter of fact, other countries have banned the use of VCP’s due to the volatile chemicals they contain.
What this means, is that our VCP interloper eventually turns around and starts picking on the victim along with the bully himself! The VCP and the bully spread their influence from our one poor victim to the ENTIRE PLAYGROUND of students, subjugating them to caustic and unhealthy behavior.
Intercept Technology – the protective material used in all of our products – is revolutionary and proprietary. It surrounds ferrous/non-ferrous metals with a blend of copper and plastic in order to protect them from corroding and degrading.
Copper is naturally unreactive. This means that it doesn’t undergo chemical or structural changes drastically when in contact with other elements. By making alterations to its atomic structure, the copper used in Intercept Technology becomes more reactive. This increased reactivity means that all forms of corrosives – gases, moisture, etc. – are drawn to the Intercept material.
Intercept Technology acts as a sacrificial anode by taking on corrosives. The essential difference between Intercept Technology and the other forms of corrosion protection listed in this article is that Intercept NEUTRALIZES corrosives, taking them on and getting rid of them for good!
In our analogy, Intercept packaging is an interloper who actually solves the victim’s problem. Standing in place of the victim, it takes on the bully’s caustic behavior, counteracting and neutralizing it. The ferrous/non-ferrous metals and Intercept live together in harmony!