Newsletter - February 29, 2012

The Jewelry Crafter

A newsletter for the home jeweler

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All About Copper


Mary Harvey


If any of you have ever worn a piece of copper jewelry, you may have noticed that it can turn your skin green. Do you know why this happens? Did you also know that copper has many metaphysical and healing properties? This week, we will take a look at this unique and interesting mineral. 

Copper has been mined for over 10,000 years. In the ancient world, a major source of copper was the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean. The word “copper” comes from the Latin word “cuprum”, which was the Roman name for the metal. Copper is one of the world’s most reusable resources. It has an almost indefinite recyclable life. Native copper ( pure copper) deposits are almost depleted, but many copper ore mines (copper found with other minerals) are found worldwide, mostly in the US, Chile, Zambia, Zaire, Peru and Canada. 

In legend and folklore, copper is considered a mineral of energy and mental agility. It is said to stimulate physical activity and helps to overcome lethargy. It also promotes luck, prosperity, purification, self esteem and communication. It helps to bring the body back into harmony with it’s environment. 

Copper also is said to have certain healing qualities. Copper is an essential mineral for human health, but since the body can’t manufacture it by itself, it has to be absorbed. Because of this, many people wear copper jewelry to enhance their health. Copper is said to have a therapeutic effect for people who suffer from arthritis, as it helps reduce inflammation and increase blood flow. It can also help to increase energy and cleanse the body of toxins.

If you wear copper jewelry, you may notice that your skin may turn green where it contacts the metal. This color change is actually a chemical reaction between your body and the copper. When sweat dissolves the copper faster then the body can absorb it, a green mark can appear.  The green stain is normally absorbed overnight, or it can be washed off with soap and water.

Copper is a very soft metal, and should not be used for jewelry that will be under stress, like clasps or other findings. However, it’s great for chain mail or pattern wire bracelets. Continuous exposure to air will cause copper jewelry to tarnish quickly. This tarnish can be removed with a quick dip in lemon juice or vinegar. 

If copper is left outside to weather, it will take on a natural green patina. An example of this is the Statue of Liberty. This patina takes many years to form.

As you can see, copper is not only beautiful to look at and wear, but it has health benefits as well.  A truly versatile mineral.

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