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Bronze, the New Silver

I took a screen capture of the metals monitor provided in Jewelrygeeks.com. As you can see gold is way more expensive than silver - a heart stopping 80 times more. Lower down is copper and for many, it's become the new silver. Lots of artisans practice with copper or work in copper because they like the softness and colour.

I like working in copper too but alas, it is not really a colour which suits me. Lately, I have a new metal love - bronze which does flatter. It is a metal alloy, a mix of primarily copper (88%) with usually tin (12%)). The resulting colour is like a very pale copper almost brass in some light. Indeed, the word bronze may have come from the Persian word "berenj" which means brass.

I've been using a lot of bronze lately in my chain maille projects. I've discovered some people, at first glance, mistake it as gold so it is ideal for projects which require yellow gold tone metals. It does tarnish like brass and copper but aged bronze is also gorgeous - a dark rich chocolate brown Whereas vintage copper just reminds me of old pennies. I usually tumble to polish up my chain maille but you can also use a suitable cleaner like Brasso to spruce it up if you don't like the vintage look. Or check out my past post How to Clean Off Green Gunk on Jewelry for a couple of easy solutions. Metal clay artisans must be rejoicing as they now can get bronze metal clay. Wholelottawhimsy has an excellent video on how to get started with Bronzclay.



Perhaps there is another reason why I like bronze so much - it is a metal with a long history going back to mid 4th millennium BC. The Bronze Age was named for the period when ancient societies developed advanced metal working techniques including the invention of this alloy. It also showed extensive trading systems existed back then because the two ores, copper and tin, were rarely found in the same place. Bronze was used for many things - tools, armour, weapons, sculptures and for decorative work.

The Iron Age followed the Bronze Age because iron was much easier to find and eventually the metalworkers developed steel which can hold sharp edges longer.
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3 comments:

  1. Bronze, great idea. Do you have a good source for bronze rings or do you make your own?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm geared up to make rings but to save time, I get mine ready made. The main chain maille suppliers offer all kinds of metal rings including bronze.

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  3. WOW! I've not been watching the metal market so I'm amazed at the price of gold and silver, and platinum and copper. Thank you for updating us on that.

    I'm a new subscriber and have really enjoyed the missives and lessons you've provided in the short time I've been reading. I'm certainly glad to have happened upon your Journal and appreciate all that you do for us. I look forward to every Journal entry.

    Dawn Fatheree
    Sunrise Jewelry & Gems
    Irvine, California, USA

    ReplyDelete

You're AWESOME! Thanks for the comment and feedback. You do make a difference on my blog!

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