Copper vs Brass Jewelry

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Many confuse copper and brass jewelry.

Here’s a quick rundown: Copper is a soft metal that has a reddish color. It is malleable and ductile. It is fit for delicate jewelry designs.

Brass is an alloy of copper with zinc. It is stronger and more durable than copper.

It also has a yellow-gold color that some may find more attractive than copper’s reddish hue.

But there is more to the story of copper and brass!

Let’s have a closer look at the comparison of copper vs brass jewelry with their pros and cons.

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What is copper?

Copper is a chemical element with atomic number 29 on the periodic table.

Its symbol is Cu, from Latin cuprum. This is an altered form of “aes cuprum” which means “metal of Cyprus”.

It refers to the island of Cyprus in the East Mediterranean, which was the main deposit source for this metal in the Roman Era.

Copper is a soft material that can be easily turned into sheets and wires. It is very malleable, and ductile.

It has a very high thermal and electrical conductivity. This makes it a good component type for electrical circuits and heating devices.

Jewelry made from copper has been around for centuries and enjoys a resurgence in popularity in recent years.

It has an increasing popularity, especially for the DIY jewelry market. It is an ideal material that can be shaped with little force and without the need of a torch.

Unlike brass jewelry, which is made by combining copper and zinc, pure copper jewelry is created using only the metal itself. This results in a softer feel to the jewelry, as well as a reddish hue that some people find very appealing.

Copper is a frequent component for many jewelry metals where hardness has to be increased.

For example, 24k pure gold and 999 fine silver are too soft.

This is why they are mixed with copper, resulting in popular gold alloys like 10k, 14k or 18k gold or sterling silver which has significantly higher levels of durability.

This latter has a 92.5% silver purity and the remaining 7.5% part mostly comes from copper or other base metals.

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What is brass?

Brass jewelry is a popular choice for many people because it has a warm color that looks great with any outfit.

Brass is not a metallic element like copper, gold or palladium. It is a mixture of metals, thus it does not have a cell in the periodic table.

Brass is a mix of copper and zinc. It is often used in costume jewelry because it has the gold look and a more approachable price tag.

Brass is not a different word for bronze. They are different metals that get confused from time to time.

Bronze is a copper alloy with about 12% tin. It has the strength and durability to endure daily wear and tear.

Check this post title bronze jewelry pros and cons for more on the subject.

Brass jewelry can tarnish over time, but it can be easily cleaned with a polishing cloth.

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Pros and cons of copper vs brass jewelry

1. Color

Copper and brass are two popular metals used in jewelry. They each have their own distinct colors that can add beauty to any piece of jewelry.

Copper is a red metal with a distinct hue. It is known for its ability to tarnish over time, giving it a unique patina.

Brass is an alloy that has a golden-like color. It is often a good substitute for expensive gold pieces, just like moissanite or cubic zirconia stones are alternatives to diamonds.

Brass does not tarnish as easily as copper, but it can still develop a patina over time.

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2. Durability

Both metals have close densities. Copper and brass have densities of 8.96 and 8.73 g/cm3, respectively.

When it comes to durability, copper and brass jewelry are on par with each other.

Both metals rank close on the Mohs scale of hardness, meaning they both show similar levels of resistance to scratching. However, brass is slightly harder than copper.

They are quite durable, meaning they will withstand a good deal of wear and tear.

3. Hypoallergenic property

When it comes to jewelry, people with sensitive skin have to be careful about the type of metal they choose.

Some allergen metals, like nickel and lead, can cause a skin reaction in people with hypersensitivity.

These include symptoms like redness, blister, swelling, and itchiness.

Similarly, copper and brass pieces can also trigger allergies.

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4. Price

When it comes to affordable metal jewelry, copper and brass are no doubt in the winner’s category. But, which one is the better deal?

Counting dollars, brass is the more expensive option.

So, if you’re looking for the more affordable piece of metal jewelry, copper is the way to go. But if you don’t mind spending a bit more for a gold-like look, brass may be the better choice for you.

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The verdict

When it comes to picking out the perfect jewelry, it can be hard to decide between two similar metals.

Both copper and brass have beautiful colors. Copper has its own remarkable reddish color, while brass, especially brushed brass, resembles gold.

Copper is softer and easier to shape into intricate designs.

Brass also has a warm, natural color that can complement any outfit.

But they each have their own unique benefits and drawbacks.

Copper is a great choice for those who want an affordable option that still looks luxurious. However, copper is more likely to tarnish than brass, so you will need to do a little more care and maintenance.

Copper is also known to cause allergies in some people, although this is not a common type like nickel allergy.

Brass is not much different as it includes copper in its composition.

If you experience unease with these metals, consult your medical professional and consider picking hypoallergenic jewelry metals like gold, platinum or palladium.

Ultimately, the decision of which metal to choose comes down to personal preference. They are very similar in their properties except their significant discrepancy in color.