We use two types of wire at Balsambrook with all of our wire-wrapped jewelry pieces: enameled and raw.
This is a copper core wire that has been coated with a polymer which is bonded to the metal. It protects the copper from the elements, which means the copper will not tarnish over time. It also protects your skin from the copper in the case of those with metal sensitivities or allergies. In the case of extreme allergies, however, care should still be taken to be sure the wire doesn't come in contact with your skin.
Enameled wire comes in a variety of colors. In some cases, the color comes from a dye that is added to the polymer that is bonded to the wire. In other cases, the color from an additional metal that is plated over the wire before the polymer is applied, typically silver.
This wire is in its raw state and has no coating over the metal. It will patina/tarnish over time and that tarnish can rub off on skin leaving a green and/or black mark that typically washes off with water and soap. Though the tarnish isn't harmful, it can be rather unpleasant to have a mark on your chest or wrist all day. For those with metal sensitives or allergies, extreme care should be taken when wearing raw wire-wrapped jewelry as the metal will come in contact with your skin.
We use copper and Argentium silver wire (both raw) in our jewelry. Argentium silver is an alloy (.935 % pure silver) that does not tarnish as much or as quickly as Sterling silver. Both the raw copper and raw Argentium silver jewelry pieces can be polished with a polishing cloth (though you should use a separate cloth for your copper pieces and one for your silver pieces). If your copper jewelry has tarnished a lot and you want to return its shine, you can dilute a bit of lemon juice in water and use that to wash off some of the tarnish. One of the easiest ways to scrub is with an old (clean) toothbrush. Then simply rinse and allow to dry completely before storing.
Regardless of whether you bought a raw or enameled piece, that are some general care tips that you should know. Please do not place your jewelry in your purse, pocket, or anywhere it is unprotected from being smashed. The wire frames are usually fairly rigid, but embellishments, curls, and the bails can be damaged (and typically can't be fixed without redoing the entire piece) in close quarters with other objects.
Please do not wear our jewelry in water or expose to water for long periods of time. Do not leave the jewelry out in the sunlight for extended periods of time as it can affect dyes in the polymer, but more importantly the metal can absorb heat from the sun and can reach temperatures that made burn if placed against the skin.