If you’ve ever strolled through a local market, you’ve likely seen jewelry topped tables with intricate copper pieces. In fact, copper is a very popular jewelry metal available in a variety of styles. However, copper isn’t exclusive to jewelry. Copper is currency, think the U.S. penny, a bright and eye-catching hair color, and an industrial metal used for machinery, weapons, building and technology.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about copper jewelry and the benefits of wearing it.
Copper is an essential mineral, meaning it occurs naturally in the human body, but also in nature. Copper has a signature reddish brown color and is a malleable and soft natural metal. Over time, copper develops a unique green patina seen on the Statue of Liberty in New York City.
Today there are a variety of ways copper is used, from currency to industrial construction, roofing to jewelry and more. Since copper is so universal, where does it come from and when was it first used as a metal?
Like many popular jewelry metals, copper is a mineral found in nature. That’s not the only place copper lives. In fact, copper is a trace element in our bodies that helps our organs and metabolism function properly. Copper is also the oldest metal that exists, and was the first metal used by humans.
However, before becoming an industrial and universal metal, copper dates back prehistoric times. Between the years 3300 and 1200 B.C., copper was used for primitive tools in the Middle East.
Over time, and with technological advancements, copper became a popular metal alloy and jewelry metal.
Copper is highly malleable and eye-catching with its unique red-orange hue, which makes it a great material to use in jewelry. Although copper is currently a popular jewelry metal, it’s been used for millennia. In fact, the first recorded use of copper jewelry dates back to 8th century B.C.
Due to its natural orange earth tone, copper is a beautiful jewelry metal. Even better, it’s versatile because it’s easy to shape, imprint and engrave.
Popular copper jewelry pieces include cuffs, pendants and rings. Often, copper is paired with leather, or other metals like sterling silver or gold to accentuate its vintage style. Copper beautifully compliments earrings, especially those with precious gemstones in earth tones like red, blue and green.
In its purest form, copper is tough but not strong enough to pair with jewelry. That’s why copper gets mixed with other metals including tin and zinc to strengthen it. Commonly used copper alloys include brass and bronze.
As an alloy, copper is extremely durable and can hold up well over time, despite daily wear. Because copper is durable, it’s a great candidate to use as a jewelry metal. Over time, copper will not rust but instead develop a natural green patina. This is because copper oxidizes and a chemical reaction turns the metal green. Speaking of green…
Will wearing copper make your skin green? Yes. Unfortunately, this is part of the copper jewelry experience. While many assume this is due to low-quality copper, it’s actually a chemical reaction.
When copper mixes with skin sweat, it oxidizes and sometimes leaves a greenish hue on your skin. This is chelated copper which does not absorb into the skin, rather stays behind and leaves a stain. That said, copper stains aren’t permanent and can be washed off with soapy water. In fact, many believe chelated copper to have health, holistic and spiritual benefits.
To minimize copper stains, clean your copper jewelry regular or buy sealed copper jewelry. Sealed copper jewelry is lined with a thin layer which protects your jewelry from tarnishing, and prevents skin discoloration or staining.
Another reason copper is popularly used in jewelry is because of its symbolism and healing properties. The same oxidation process which turns your skin green actually causes enzymes to absorb into the skin and ultimately, enter the bloodstream. Why is this a good thing?
Remember how copper is an essential mineral in our bodies? Well, sometimes we don’t have enough copper and this leads to copper deficiency. Associated symptoms of copper deficiency include fatigue, weakness, pale skin and cold sensitivity. Wearing copper jewelry helps allow small amounts of copper into the body. Proponents of copper jewelry also claim to experienced symptom relief from circulation issues and arthritis.
Some also believe there are holistic and spiritual benefits to wearing copper. Copper symbolizes love and balance, and was used to heal and protect during ancient times. Many claim that wearing copper balances both the spirit and body.
You’ll want to clean copper jewelry regularly to keep it clean and shiny. Wash copper jewelry with warm water and soap. You can also use a soft bristled brush to gently scrub away grime.
To protect copper jewelry from tarnishing, you can polish it with an acidic item like lemon or vinegar. Simply soak the jewelry in the acidic liquid for up to 20 minutes, then wash it off.
You might also be wondering, can you shower with copper jewelry and can copper jewelry get wet? Absolutely! In fact, the warm water will help keep your copper jewelry clean.
Copper jewelry ranges in value from inexpensive to fine jewelry. What type of jewelry you’re buying dictates the price point. For instance, vintage copper jewelry may be more expensive than copper jewelry from a street faire or market.
The alure of copper jewelry also depends on if it contains precious stones or embellishments. The most important factor to consider when buying copper jewelry is to purchase from a reputable vendor.
There you have it! As you can see, copper jewelry is unique, eye-catching and contains natural healing properties. Copper jewelry is available in a variety of styles, including engraved, carved, polished, mixed-metal and etched. Copper pairs well with other jewelry metals like sterling silver and gold , making it a diverse and unique metal to add to your jewelry collection!
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