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When it comes to fashion, there are a lot of different materials that can be used to make jewelry. One popular choice is copper.
Copper has a lot of benefits, but there are also some drawbacks that you should be aware of before you buy any copper jewelry.
Here are the pros and cons of copper jewelry.
What is copper?
Copper is a chemical element with the atomic number 29 on the periodic table.
The name comes from the island of Cyprus. This is the third-biggest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily and Sardinia.
This important island, with a key position between Asia and Africa, was the main source for this metal in the Roman Empire. The first form of the name was “aes cyprium” meaning “metal of Cyprus”, which became “cuprum” in Latin.
It is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity.
Copper is a beautiful reddish-brown metal that has been used for centuries in jewelry.
It is used on its own and in alloys. Many metals like rose gold, sterling silver and brass have copper in their composition. This is a common addition to increase hardness and adjust color.
Rose gold is a gold-copper alloy with different purity levels. The end color gets closer to red and its hardness increases as the copper percentage increases. Check out our post gold vs rose gold for more on this subject.
Sterling has a fixed silver purity level. It has 92.5% silver in its composition. This is the same for all silver pieces marked with “STERLING”, “SS” or “925”. The remaining 7.5% part often comes from copper or similar base metals.
Brass is a copper-zinc alloy that is used in decorative items and jewelry. While copper percentage may vary, its duty is again to increase durability and to modify the hue. Check our posts brass jewelry pros and cons and brass vs copper jewelry for more.
Copper is easy to work with because it is soft and malleable.
It can be turned into copper sheets and wires easily. It can gain many shapes and be made into different forms again and again.
However, copper does have some drawbacks as a jewelry metal.
It can cause skin reactions in some people. And it will slowly darken over time when exposed to air and humidity. Copper jewelry should be cleaned regularly to prevent tarnishing.
Pros of copper jewelry
Copper has been used in household items and jewelry for centuries because of its unique color.
The metal is a reddish-orange color. It can range from a light rustic red to a deep brown. It is this distinct color that gives copper its special appeal.
Copper can add a touch of elegance to any dress. Its unique coloration can make even the most ordinary outfit stand out.
For example, crimson pieces can explode with a yellow dress. Or scarlet hue jewelry can elevate a red outfit to a new level.
Copper items can carry their warmth indoors too. When used in interior design, copper can create an atmosphere of fervor and sophistication as in copper lighting pieces.
2. Durability & versatility
Copper has a 3 grade on the Mohs scale for mineral hardness. This is a little higher than gold and silver.
Thus, it has stronger scratch resistance than these precious metals.
Copper is also durable, making it a good choice for those looking for a long-lasting material.
Yet, its durability does not translate into sturdiness and an obstacle against manipulation.
Copper is a versatile material that can be made into a variety of shapes and forms. It is an ideal choice for learning how to make jewelry.
It is cheap and available in many packages like sheets, wires and small pieces.
You can easily create different shapes without the need of a torch and using simple tools. Cutting and dividing can easily be done without exerting much force.
Moreover, it can be recycled, making it an environmentally friendly option for more sustainability- concerned users.
3. Health benefits
Copper is an essential micronutrient that plays a vital role in many body processes.
Its absence, copper deficiency, has the potential to lead the way to a variety of health problems.
These cells are responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body. Therefore, by increasing the amount of copper in your diet, you can sustain and improve your oxygen levels and overall health.
Copper also plays a role in cognitive function and memory. Low levels of copper have been linked to poor cognitive performance and memory problems.
Finally, copper is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system.
Copper is one of the most abundant materials on Earth.
It is an affordable metal.
It’s not a precious metal. This makes it a staple in many pieces of jewelry for hardness and color.
It makes it a great choice for electrical wiring and plumbing. It is not wrong to assume any electric device and water system has copper parts.
It’s also used in cookware, coins, and sculptures.
Cons of copper jewelry
1. Skin discoloration
Copper is widely used in jewelry, but it can turn your skin green.
This may happen when copper reacts with the oils and sweat on your skin. The reaction creates a greenish-black compound called verdigris. This is mostly seen with copper rings and bracelets.
Verdigris is harmless. If you have any copper jewelry that’s turning your skin green, you can clean it with a mild soap and water solution.
Copper does tarnish over time.
Tarnishing occurs as copper reacts with sulfur in the air to form a greenish black patina on the surface of the metal.
This process does take time. Its duration depends on the amount of sulfur in the air with other factors such as temperature, skin pH and exposure to chemical agents like deodorants and perfumes.
The good news is that you can clean and polish copper to remove the tarnish. Even simple kitchen items like lemon and salt would be enough to restore the red luster.
3. Copper allergy
Copper allergy is a skin reaction that occurs when your body comes into contact with copper and its alloys.
In some cases, people may have unease when their skin comes into direct contact with copper.
Allergic reactions can cause a range of symptoms, from mild to severe.
Main symptoms include redness, itching and blisters. These are generally limited to the contact area.
Copper is found in many everyday items, such as coins, jewelry, cooking pots, and plumbing pipes.
If you think you may be allergic to copper, consult your medical professional.
They can perform simple diagnosis tests to confirm your doubt and help you find ways to avoid exposure to the metal.
Conclusion: Should you get a copper piece of jewelry?
In conclusion, there are both pros and cons to copper jewelry.
However, many people enjoy wearing copper jewelry because it is unique and has a beautiful color.
Its affordable price opens the door to enriching your jewelry collection without breaking the bank.
One case where copper definitely shines is jewelry making. It is an ideal starting point for every jewelry student with its versatility.
It has low barriers to shape and remake jewelry pieces. The most basic tools like plier, cutter, hammer are all you need to get going.