Notes on Copper

These earrings of vintage carnelian glass beads, vintage copper cone & leverback ear wiresERCP0061ERCP0009





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For centuries, Copper has been used to adorn the body, and although brass became more widely used because of its color being closer to that of gold, copper has recently become a highly desired metal color for jewelry. The element, in its virgin state, is a shiny pinkish-orange-brown.

Copper develops a natural patina over time, giving it a soft reddish brown tone. This is the color your copper jewelry will turn. This happens with exposure to the air and to body salts. During this period, while the surface layer is changing, copper jewelry may cause wearers to show a bit of green where the metal touches skin. Once the patina has formed, and the copper has finished darkening, it won’t discolor the skin. If a shiny look is desired, you can softly polish high points, like the front surface of the ear wire, with a flannel cloth. This will remove the darkening from select areas. The result is the best of both, the antique coloring, some glimmering copper, and protection from the oxidation. If you don’t wish the wires to turn colors, or turn your skin colors, a very thin layer of clear nail enamel over the wire will slow it.

But don’t worry about copper interacting with your skin. It is believed that copper has healing properties with a formation of a mild electromagnetic field which interrupts the sensation of pain due to arthritis, tendonitis and muscle fatigue. Some have even claimed that copper alleviates symptoms of jet lag. Scientific studies have shown that copper worn on the body can balance the skin environment, controlling fungal overgrowth which causes rashes and dandruff. Copper has natural antimicrobial properties.

Most important to me, as a jewelry designer, is the sheer beauty of the metal, its color, purity and workability.
As it grows in popularity, more pure copper components are appearing on the market from which to create beautuful heirloom jewelry.

The beauty of copper is forever and I hope your copper jewelry will be among your favorites.

If you want to refresh the sparkle of copper, simply make a solution of white vinegar and sea salt in a little glass jar. This will last for a very long time. One-quarter cup white vinegar with one tablespoon sea salt.

Dip your earrings in this solution for a brief moment. The patina, a brown color, will disappear, leaving the pink color of new copper. Rinse in cool water immediately & thoroughly. Rinse especially well if copper wire is inside beads, so any solution inside the bead hole is flushed out. Pat dry and hang suspended to dry completely overnight. When dry, a firm rub with a flannel polishing cloth will bring back the shine.

Copper in its pure form is a soft metal, so take care to not be too rough so you don’t bend the fine ear wires of your copper earrings.

One more note: if for any reason you choose not to wear copper wires, or have a rare copper sensitivity, you can purchase rose gold leverback ear wires at most bead and craft stores. These match the tone of copper earrings, with a lovely pink hue.

©Copyright 2009  Chris Dec Jewelry


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