Sunday, May 31, 2009

Copper is Not Just For Jewelry

By on Sunday, May 31, 2009 9 Comments

At one of our workshops, vintage copper rocked! Many of the beaders churned out pretty vintage style jewelry. Barbara's earrings were made with leftover beads from another project as well as double looped and bent eye pins. A less common approach to earring making but no less effective.

Also featured here is Kristie's design (bottom left) which uses diagonally drilled copper edged black window beads making the earrings look like chandeliers. Delicate and elegant for sure. Terri's earrings were made with large oval copper rings and prettily layered with leaves and drops.

People have appreciated the beauty of copper and used it for at least 10,000 years. There is more to copper than just its lovely color and its decorative use.



Ancient Egyptians used copper for their water pipes. Explorers like Christopher Columbus relied on copper sheathing on his ships' hulls to protect them from barnacles and other infestations. Modern ships still use copper based paints to do the job.

Later on in the 18th and 19th centuries, scientists like Ampere, Faraday and Ohm revolutionised our use of copper for they discovered copper's amazing electrical conductivity and heat transfer properties. It is now a very important industrial metal. We also use copper in coinage, in cookware, roofing, statues and in jewelry. Sterling silver contains 7.5% copper. Brass and bronze are copper alloys or mixtures.

Copper also has biomedical applications. It is biostatic which means bacteria won't grow on it which is why some hospitals have copper door knobs. Copper piping is vital for air-conditioning systems to reduce the possibility of Legionnaire's disease. Some companies like Cupron have found ways of incorporating copper into textiles making antimicrobial bed linen for hospitals possible. These textiles will still work despite numerous washings.

But copper is like oil - supplies are finite. The price of copper has been rising sharply since 1999 although it has dropped recently due to the global economy slowdown. If world demand for copper continues to grow, one estimate suggests it may be as little as 25 years before supplies to run out.

Beader Designs #: 519-21

References
Copper History
Wikipedia : Copper

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 

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9 comments:

  1. I had no idea bacteria would not grow on copper! That's a fascinating tidbit, to me anyway!

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  2. Excellent post as always Pearl. Thanks for sharing, peace for all

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  3. So interesting - thanks! Very pretty jewelry too.

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  4. Wow, I learned some things about about copper I had no idea about! Love making jewelry with it. The color is so rich and warm and the metal is so easy to work with. I hope that it is not true we will run out. It is truly one of my favorite metals!

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  5. The idea that copper supplies could be exhausted in 25 years refers to newly mined copper. There is lots of preused copper around, and recycled/upcycled scrap copper can be used to make lots of great stuff. Just last night I made a pair of earrings incorporating some scraps of 10 gauge copper wire a friend had gotten at a recycling center: http://twitpic.com/3b0gkh

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  6. That's a very good point, Kat. We should be recycling more copper. I've stripped off the plastic coating of scrap electrical wire too to reuse.

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  7. Fantastic info on Copper and its history. Thanks also for all you help and ideas in your blog. Its greatly appreciated by me and I'm sure all who read it.

    Have a great day,Doris

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  8. Glad you find my blog useful, Doris!

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  9. Very interesting post on copper. I alway learn something new from your blog post. Very pretty earrings to. Thanks you for sharing.

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