Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Copper Myths Dispelled

Lately, I have been hearing a lot of misinformation and downright lies about copper. I cannot believe some of the urban legends floating around out there about this beautiful metal. It's apalling really as it is detrimental to both my business and this element.

On the Periodic Table, it is in the same class of elements as Silver, Palladium, Titanium, Niobium, Rhodium, Platinum, and Gold. All of which are used in jewelry, and all of which are classified as Transition Metals on the Periodic Table. Copper is a valuable natural resource which is recycled at a higher rate than any other metal used in engineering. Now you know a little bit about the actual mineral aspects of copper let's move on to the myths.

Myth 1. I have seen it posted in descriptions of copper jewelry that their jewelry is naturally clear coated. Whether this is a misunderstanding or just plain lying is not for me to say, but I can tell you copper is not clear coated by mother nature. There are some companies that will place a clearcoat on their products because tarnishing is actually a hindrance for what they are trying to accomplish. So, if you see this said, know it's not true and that the wire or metal used probably had a clearcoat applied from the manufacturing company.

Myth 2. Your skin turning green from wearing copper is an allergy. Wrong in so many ways. Copper turns your skin green to copper salts, a combination of copper and different chemicals. They are not harmful. When we sweat, we release chemicals. A process we cannot stop. Most of these chemicals are acidic and causes metal to corrode or tarnish. This is then rubbed off onto your skin. The same thing happens when I patina a piece and the patina has not had a chance to "dry". The patina will then rub off if sufficient time has not been given for the patina to adhere to the metal. If you were allergic to copper, you probably could not wear gold or sterling silver as both contain amounts of copper. In fact, most people with a nickel allergy can wear copper as it contains no nickel.

Myth 3. Patinas. I will not even mention some of the most God awful methods I've heard of patining copper. It's just downright ridiculous. They're not even worth mentioning. Let's just say ask if you're not sure. There are some very common methods such as vinegar, ammonia, and others used to also patina sterling. If they don't tell you this, then be wary.

Myth 4. I've heard in recent days someone saying copper will, basically, wear away to nothing if you wear it close to your skin. Bull malarky that's what I say. All metals do wear away. I don't care if you paid $5000 or $5. It's called a combination of friction and oxidization. It's generally not noticeable in the slightest, but it does happen. I've had more problems with gold and silver than with copper. Copper is stronger than either of the two hence it is added to them to give them a little more strength.

copper jewelry

There you have it. I want my customers and blog readers to be more informed. Copper jewelry has been around since at least 8700 B.C. if not longer. Let's not let it fall by the wayside.

Check out this post of mine to learn more about the history of copper. Want to know even more about copper you can always check out Copper.org for loads of interesting facts and uses of copper.


Craftymoose Crafts said...

Thanks for such good information!

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

I love copper! Love it.

Please stop by and enter my Halloween giveaway.

ladybug CG said...

I have a beautiful copper ring.