Copper Jewelry Guide

May 06, 2014

Copper Jewelry Guide

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What is copper?

Copper is an essential mineral found in plant life and in the human body and it is also a metal alloy with a reddish-orange color. The use of copper dates back over 10,000 years. Pure copper is very soft and malleable and is combined with other metals, such as brass and bronze, for use in jewelry and other uses. Copper is used in currency (the U.S. penny), and is used as a heat conductor, in medical instruments, and has been used as a decorative coating of famous gates, such as the Temple of Jerusalem, sculptures, and statues, most notably, The Statue of Liberty, the largest copper statue in the world.

Since 100% of copper can be recycled without any loss of its original mined quality, it is the third most recycled metal. Over 80% of the copper mined since it was discovered thousands of years ago is still in use today. When copper tarnishes, a beautiful green patina covers the piece.

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What is a copper deficiency?

Copper deficiency can be caused by a diet that lacks foods containing copper (such as shellfish, certain nuts, chocolate, liver, or red wine) or from ingesting high doses of vitamin C or zinc, both if which can block copper’s absorption. The body uses copper for proper bone, nervous system, joint, and circulatory system health. Oral supplements can overload the body with unnecessary copper and can do damage in people who are unable to metabolize the mineral. Therefore, some people find it beneficial to wear copper jewelry for the purpose of having a small amount of copper absorbed through the skin.

Although copper deficiency is more prevalent than toxicity to copper, in rare situations, additional copper should be avoided. People who live near copper mines, have copper plumbing, or are unable to metabolize copper, should avoid wearing copper jewelry. The majority of people, however, have the ability to take in as much copper as their body needs and block any excess, which makes copper jewelry perfectly fine, and perhaps even beneficial, for most.

What are the health benefits of copper?

People who are deficient in copper may benefit from wearing copper jewelry, since it can be absorbed through the skin. Jewelry is a good way of taking in the small amount of the mineral needed. The healing properties of copper, in the form of bracelets, necklaces, rings, or earrings, can allow a minimal amount of the mineral into the body without overwhelming it. Some wearers of copper jewelry find it relieves the symptoms of arthritis and circulation problems.

Is copper jewelry durable?

Copper is an extremely durable metal and is often used in products designed to last a very long time, such as building wire, water pipes, and tube fittings. As jewelry, copper will last a lifetime or longer, when cared for properly. Copper is sometimes used as a base for jewelry on top of which another metal is plated, such as silver or platinum.

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How to clean copper jewelry?

Occasionally, copper jewelry or the skin of its wearer can turn green. This happens when the metal interacts with sweat and is referred to as copper chelates. The chelates assimilate to the body and are absorbed, and many wearers expect this to happen as proof that the copper is working with their body. Green coloring on the skin comes off with soap and water, and polishing copper jewelry is as easy as finding an acidic item in the kitchen. Lemon and ketchup are both excellent for cleaning copper jewelry. Simply place the piece of jewelry in a small bowl and cover with your choice of cleaner. Let it soak for no longer than 20 minutes. If necessary, use a soft toothbrush to reach into crevices on the jewelry. Use mild soap and water to wash the acidic cleaner off the jewelry and pat dry with a soft cloth. The piece of copper jewelry should regain its shine and look new again.