Thursday, July 3, 2014

DragonWings Cuff Bracelet; Photo Finish & Some Cool Copper Facts!

To finish the bracelet, the copper is bent and hammered with a rawhide mallet around a mandrel, or form, to the desired shape.

The final step is to seal the metal with a durable finish that will protect it from tarnishing and turning your skin green.

Why does copper tend to leave dark and/or green marks?  It's known as an oxidation reaction, and it's the same natural process that creates a green verdigis patina on copper, brass and bronze - think of that lovely green our Statue of Liberty wears.  When air, moisture and skin oils contact the metal, it creates a layer of copper carbonate on the surface.  This green stuff is used as an artist's pigment, in some cosmetics, and also to reduce the growth of algea in ponds and aquaculture.

Copper has antimicrobial and antifungal properties, something ancient people discovered when they noticed that water stored in copper vessels remained fresh longer than water stored in other materials.  They also used copper in medicinal preparations and to help sterilize wounds.
Scientists are currently studying how copper destroys microbes, but recent studies have shown that harmful microbes such as E. coli, Staph and influenza die after 1-2 hours on copper surfaces, while they can survive on stainless steel for weeks. This property has great potential for improving conditions in hospitals.

Copper is also a mineral essential to the functioning of our bodies and is found in healthy foods such as nuts and green vegetables. It has antioxidant properties, and people have claimed for thousands of years that it can help ease arthritis pain (though no scientific studies have confirmed this).

Minor skin contact shouldn't cause problems, and very few people are allergic to copper.  The oxidation marks are unsightly, though, so I seal my jewelry with a durable finish to prevent oxidation and discoloration.

Another cool thing about copper that I love is the warm, rosy color - not quite as bright and ostentatious as gold, but possessing it's own special luster.  I also love how it plays so well with other colors. Both warm and cool tones harmonize beautifully with it, giving me a lot of color schemes to explore. 
oxidation reaction. The copper reacts with oxygen in the air, your sweat and skin oils creating a green layer of copper carbonate on your skin - See more at:
oxidation reaction. The copper reacts with oxygen in the air, your sweat and skin oils creating a green layer of copper carbonate on your skin - See more at:


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