Last year I had a class to show how to stamp metals for making jewelry. We used materials that are readily found in your home, like hammers, copper wire, and nails to make patterns. This year, I would like to take it a step further to show how to cut copper and brass to make your metal jewelry.
This is a more advanced class as the techniques are using previous jewelry making skills. Knowing the metals that work the best for jewelry making is a great place to start. The most important knowledge on the metals is that you want to make sure they are non-ferrous, meaning without the iron. The more iron in a metal, the harder it is to work. Iron and steel are used for making buildings, and rarely for making jewelry.
The reddish or orangey metal you see on homes and antique jewelry is popular metal for creating the green patina look know as antique copper plate. It is a great candidate for use in jewelry making. Even though you might have green stains on your skin while wearing copper, those stains can be washed off with warm water and soap, the same materials you use to clean your jewelry. Copper does not harm or irritate the skin.
This metal is made up of copper and zinc. The color of yellow or gold will tarnish to brown eventually. Many inexpensive jewelry pieces are made with brass. It is extremely easy to work with, and can make stunning jewelry. The golden shine is desired by many without the increased cost such as with gold. Polishing the brass will bring it back to its luster. As an extremely durable metal, it can last a long time if taken care of. However, moisture and salt along with other chemicals will weaken and oxidize or tarnish the metal. Therefore, swimming and showering with this jewelry is out.
A silver alloy (a metal made of two different metals) of silver and copper allows silver to be firmer than pure silver alone. Sterling silver is more often used for silverware but can be used for creating jewelry as well. It looks beautiful and is extremely durable. The jewelry can be worn daily and does not harm or irritate your skin.
All of these metals are great for jewelry making, with the possibly of different colors for your wardrobe. They will be fun materials to work with during our class: Metal Mania on May 24, at 11:30 am at the studio.
I look forward to seeing you there!