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Is It Safe to Wear Brass Jewelry?

Brass Jewelry Pieces

So you went out to buy new jewelry but because you are on a tight budget, you decided to pick items with cheap base metals. You remember reading about brass jewelries online and how inexpensive they are, so you asked the jeweler if they have those in store. But before you even finish your sentence, they immediately tried to talk you out of it. Their reason?

  1. They believe jewelry pieces are intimate items that not only complement outfits, but also symbolize social status. Therefore, they must have a substantial monetary value.
  2. They also believe that brass jewelry can turn your skin green. Copper, which makes up about 60 percent of brass, turns green over time as it oxidizes. So, it’s only logical to assume that brass turns green over time, too. However, it’s highly unlikely for this color change to spread onto your skin.
  3. Most brass jewelries contain nickel and lead, two of the most notorious causes of skin allergy out there. Jewelers believe that, unlike other more expensive base metals, brass is not hypoallergenic.

While these reasons are worth factoring in your final decision, it wouldn’t be fair to not look into the pros of brass jewelry as well. After all, it’s not as bad as most people say. Many jewelry stores still offer brass jewelry, so generally, it’s an option that you can consider. Let’s take a look at some of the major benefits of brass jewelry.

  1. One of the enticing characteristics of brass jewelry is its gold-like appearance. Depending on copper-zinc ratio, the color of brass may range from dark brown to silvery white. To achieve a gold-like shade, you must combine around 67% copper and 33% zinc. Thanks to this unique property, brass is often used as alternative to gold for a variety of design applications.
  2. With copper as its base constituent, brass is among the most durable metals around. It can last for thousands of years if properly stored and maintained. As previously mentioned, brass develops a layer of greenish material on its surface. This layer, called patina, acts as a shield that protects the brass inside from corroding.
  3. Brass is significantly cheaper than premium-grade base metals such as sterling silver and gold vermeil. Part of the reason is its main components—copper and zinc—are still currently in great abundance. Unlike gold and silver, they are not precious metals. Another reason is that brass is used for familiar applications like construction and electronics.

Is it safe to wear brass jewelry?

Brass is made up of copper and zinc. To improve its quality, a minute amount of other metals, such as nickel and lead, is added to the mixture. The resulting brass can be tougher, shinier, or more resistant to corrosion. Some industrial brasses, including brass extrusions, bars, and tubes, even have more extra metals in them.

Unfortunately, these improvements in the quality of brass have some side effects. As mentioned earlier, nickel and lead can cause serious allergic reactions, which range from itching to rash.

Simply put, it’s not really brass that causes allergy but the new elements added to its original composition. By and large, nickel and lead should only account for no more than 1% of the entire brass alloy, but even this miniscule amount could lead to severe allergic reactions.

The thing is not all brass jewelry contains nickel or lead. Some are made purely of copper and zinc. If you are really interested in wearing brass jewelry, it is best to ask the jeweler what other metals it contains apart from copper and zinc. It’s also possible that you are allergic to copper or zinc, in which case you should avoid wearing brass jewelry altogether.

How to Polish Brass Jewelry

One of the disadvantages of brass jewelry is that it tarnishes rather quickly. The good news is there are easy ways to polish it and restore its shiny, gold-like appearance. One method involves the use of products that you most likely have in your own home. Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Prepare vinegar, salt, flour, warm water, and a small bowl.
  2. Put 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ cup of vinegar into the bowl. Mix properly until the salt completely dissolves into the vinegar.
  3. Add the flour into the mixture and mix well until you produce a paste-like substance.
  4. Rub you brass jewelry with this paste and make sure to cover all surfaces.
  5. Leave the item for 10 minutes, then rinse with warm water.
  6. Make sure to dry the brass jewelry with clean cloth as quickly as possible to prevent moisture from triggering tarnishing.

You may choose to buff up the brass jewelry with clean cloth but be careful not to apply too much force. Don’t forget that it’s a jewelry item you are polishing, not a piece of furniture. If you think polishing your jewelry this way is too risky, make do with warm water rinsing.

Apart from jewelry, brass is used for a wide range of industrial and creative applications, including construction, filtration systems, musical instruments, and machine design. This metal is so versatile you can even incorporate it in your own projects. Should you need brass supplies, make sure to purchase them from reputable brass suppliers like Rotax Metals.

Common Uses of Metals in Our Daily Life

Humanity’s 6 million years of existence represent a tiny fraction of the evolution of life on Earth as we know it. Surprisingly, our ancestors kept their primitive lifestyle for most of this period. Progressive civilizations only started to emerge around 12,000 years ago when the first metals were finally discovered.

Our ancestors called the first metals “native metals”. These include gold, copper, silver, tin, lead and iron. They were initially use to make weapons, shields, cookware, jewelry, and furniture pieces. Eventually, advancements in metalworking technology allowed for even more sophisticated applications.

The discovery of metals paved the way for industrialization to which we owe the modern world we live in today. If metals were discovered much earlier, we’d probably be a Type 1 civilization in the Kardashev scale by now. That’s because metals hold the key to limitless innovations.

Major Uses of Metals

When you think of metals, the first thing that would probably imagine is the Kinzie Street Railroad Bridge. After all this prominent landmark in Chicago is made mostly of steel, one of the most popular metals around. Structures like this bridge show us how essential metals are to modern world infrastructure. To elaborate, here are some of metals’ major uses.

  • Transportation

    – Metals like steel and titanium account for about 80 percent of the total weight of the average vehicle. Same goes for trains, airplanes, ships, and other modern-day transports. The roads, bridges, and railways these vehicles run on are either reinforced or completely made of metals, too. It’s hard to imagine the world’s transportation systems completely devoid of metals.

  • Construction

    – Metals play a major role in construction of vertical structures as well. For instance, columns and beams of low and high-rises are reinforced with steel bars. So are the hollow blocks that comprise walls and partitions. Depending on your home’s architecture, the roof trusses and the roof itself may be made of metals, too. All the equipment and tools used for construction, including power tools, hand tools, and excavators are all made mainly of metals.

  • Telecommunication

    – The towers and dishes that feed signal into your electronic devices are all made of metals. Even if they only provide structural support, metals are safer and more reliable to use than other materials due to their natural toughness and high tensile strength.

  • Security

    – Ever seen a padlock, deadbolt, knob lock, or even a bank vault made of plastic or wood? I bet you haven’t because metals, with their immense strength and toughness, are the preferred material for this application. Prison cells consist of metal bars, too, because not only are metals hard to wreck, but they are also easier to extrude into bars and plates than other materials.

  • Electricity

    – If you peel off an electrical cable’s plastic jacket or insulator, you’ll be greeted by a metallic core. Metals are an ideal wire core material because they are electrically conductive. In fact, around 95 percent of an electrical system consist of highly conductive metals, mostly copper, to allow for maximum distribution of electricity.

Uses of Metals in Our Daily Life

A lot of objects and products you use on a regular basis are made of metals or have metallic components. Identifying these everyday items can help you get a good sense of the importance of metals in our daily life. These items may range from small furniture pieces to large fixtures like the ones you can purchase from a copper sheet supplier. Here are some major examples.

  • Cutlery

    – Family meals won’t be complete without a set of shiny spoons, forks, and knives. While you can opt to use plastic or wooden cutlery, it doesn’t give off that sophisticated vibe that you can only experience with its metallic counterpart. If anything, non-metallic utensils are unappealing to most people, especially when used in a formal setting. Furthermore, metal cutlery lasts longer and is easy to maintain.

  • Money

    – Ever seen a coin made of rubber or stone? I bet you haven’t, because all modern coins are made of metal. In the past, coins were made of gold or silver, but as the value of these metal increased, they were replaced by other less valuable metals, such as copper, nickel, and zinc. These metals are both lightweight and corrosion-resistant, so they are perfect for this application. During war times, however, coin manufacturers used steel because the usual metals were hard to come by.

  • Decoration

    – The trims along your door frame, the lovely curls and shapes on your railings, or even your engraved curtain rods all complement the modern look you desire for your home. Metallic decorations have long been incorporated in interior and architectural designs because they are both elegant-looking and durable.

  • Jewelry

    – The majority of jewelry items, if not all, have metallic components. Even bracelets or hair clips that are made mostly of stone or ceramic usually have metallic chains, cords, or clasps.

  • Containers and Packaging

    – Some of the groceries you usually buy, such as preserved food and soda, come in metallic containers or wrappings.

  • Gadgets and Appliances

    – Just about every device or equipment you own is either partially or mainly metallic, be it your entertainment system, laptop, cellphone, or kitchen appliances. Non-metallic cladding or casing is often used to enhance their aesthetics.

Should you need metals for your own handicraft or architectural projects, make sure to look for a company that offers high-grade metal supplies. Premier copper, bronze, and brass suppliers in North America, such as Rotax Metals, are your best bet. Find out how long they’ve been in the business and where they source their materials. Visit their foundry to get a glimpse of the metalworking methods they use if possible.

What Properties Make Copper the Best and Where to Get Copper Rod and Other Supplies

copper in machines

If there’s one metal that has stood the test of time and has played a crucial role in the creation of the modern world, it has to be copper. Not only is it the first metal discovered and utilized, but even as new metals are being introduced on the industrial market every five years or so, it remained a highly relevant material, and for good reasons.

Apart from possessing a number of extremely valuable properties, copper is also recyclable. Even if copper mining stops at some point in the future, there’s enough scrap copper to resupply the market with and the cycle will continue. Unfortunately, not very many people are familiar with copper. If you ask a random person on the street to name a metal they’re familiar with, they’d probably say steel or aluminum, and there’s a good explanation to that.

Unlike steel and aluminum, which are commonly used for building visible structures like bridges and vehicles, copper is often found inside devices and machines, making it less familiar. There’s also the fact that copper is frequently used in its alloy form, which is typically far from its original appearance. Regardless, it doesn’t change the fact that copper is an amazing metal.

Applications

To get a feel for how amazing copper really is, let’s examine its applications based on its properties and form. Especially if you are planning to start a metal supply and distribution business or your project involves the use of copper, it pays to know what this metal can do and where it is utilized for. Reputable copper and brass suppliers like Rotax Metals can give you insights that can help you make the right choices.

According to Properties

Copper’s enduring relevance is predicated by its multitudes of levered properties. Here are some of the prominent ones and their applications.

Natural Elegance

Copper has a reddish-brown color, which changes into different shades of gold or tan when combined with other metals. The resulting alloys are perfect for cutlery, sculpture, architecture, and even jewelry.

Anti-Biofouling

Barnacles, weeds, and other saltwater lifeforms cannot attach on the surface of copper or its alloys, which is why it is used for ship hulls, hydraulic systems, and offshore oil and gas platforms.

Corrosion Resistance

Unlike steel and other ferrous metals, copper does not rust. Combining it with other non-ferrous metals makes it even more corrosion-resistant. Copper makes a great material for plumbing tubes and fittings, roofing, and distillation systems.

Electrical Conductivity

Copper is extremely conductive. It’s no wonder most communication, electrical transmission and distribution, resistance welding systems are made of copper.

Ductility

Copper and its alloys are easy to work, too, but they can preserve their mechanical strength. This property is perfect for general engineering, marine, defense, and aerospace applications.

Heat Capacity

Thanks to copper’s high heat capacity, it makes up most of cryogenic, liquid gas handling, heat exchange, and combustion systems. This metal can maintain form and strength even when exposed to high temperatures for a long period of time.

Antibacterial

There’s a reason why the doorknobs and railings in buildings are typically made of copper or its alloys. Copper has a natural antimicrobial property. Its molecules produce ions that can harm certain proteins in microorganisms, leading to their demise.

According to Form

Copper and its alloys can be manufactured into virtually anything, thanks to their high malleability and machinability. However, non-customized or mass produced raw copper supplies usually come in the following shapes and forms.

  • Sheet

    – Copper sheets are great for covering surfaces to add protection and aesthetic value. You can purchase a copper sheet from a local copper sheet supplier and use it on your kitchen countertop or backsplash to take advantage not just of its natural elegance but more importantly of its antimicrobial property.

  • Plate

    – If you want something thicker, try a copper plate instead, although it’s more commonly used for engraving purposes. Copper plates are great for device and machine casing, too. Pure copper, however, isn’t suitable for any application requiring metal plating as it forms patina after long exposure to air and moisture.

  • Tube

    –Copper is also a favorite material when making tubes and pipes. Not only is it extremely malleable, but it’s also antimicrobial, as previously discussed. Most copper tubes go to water filtration and distillation systems, food containment systems, and other structures with prohibitive sanitation requirements.

  • Bar and Rod

    – Typically produced through extrusion and tensile tested, copper bars and rods are later manufactured into auto parts, medical or electrical accessories, and other precision machine components. Whether you need a copper square rod, a copper round rod, or a copper bar for your project, large suppliers like Rotax Metals have you covered.

Copper is, without a doubt, a super-metal. Even with today’s technology, there are still aspects of this metal that we haven’t fully explored, and exploited for that matter. We expect to discover more new copper-based alloys in the coming decades and it’s going to benefit a vast array of industries.

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