All About Copper
Tarnish, care and benefits of copper.
General Copper Information
Copper is a versatile and ideal medium for metaphysical jewelry designers. Copper is a pure element that is a superconductive orange-red metal and it is prized for its ability to transmit heat and electric energy. Copper is a favored metal for jewelry designers because of its malleability and rich color variations depending on treatments.
Much of the contemporary copper ores are in North, Central, and Southern Americas and Africa. The conductive properties of copper make this metal especially attractive to not only metaphysical jewelry designers but to engineers - whether they're building space technology or seafaring ships.
Copper was instrumental in bringing civilizations to new heights of industry. For example, copper plumbing was discovered in the ruins of the Indus River Valley in India dating back to 4,000 BC. Also, consider that Nikola Tesla's experiments with copper's conductive properties still have variables applicable in television and radio. Needless to say, copper's abundance and popularity have far reaching uses.
As a metaphysical jewelry designer, copper's characteristics are very appealing. What potential good does copper have on a person? Copper uses range from cookware, weaponry, coin, and as a healing agent.
More recent research with copper has proven that copper has curative properties and immune boosting properties. Biologically, copper is an essential mineral in harmony with zinc. A deficiency in copper can create problematic illnesses. Copper helps the body create hemoglobin, which in turn carries oxygen to the body at a cellular level.
Copper's key role in this biological function was studied by researchers Cartwright, Gubler, Wintrobe in 1957, proving that copper could curve anemia and that iron is rendered rather ineffective in treating anemia in a copper deficiency. Interestingly enough, copper deficiency also decreases the lifespan of red blood cells...imagine the extra toll on the body in making more blood cells to carry nutrients throughout the body.
It's easy to make the claim: Copper increases your energy and maybe your life! Copper helps maximize blood production and longevity. In this way, it can potentially cure anemia, lower blood pressure, ease bone aches (this is where blood is made, in the bone marrow!).
Copper's properties are almost magical. It does transmit energy, but can it transmit thoughts and intentions? Some believe it does. I think Nikola Tesla certainly proved it via radio waves.
Does copper aid in healing? The evidence seems to support that claim! Copper has shown to extend the life of red blood cells, boost immunity, and aid in bringing oxygen to the body on a cellular level. How does it work? Copper supplements aren't exactly ideal because it's hard to measure just how much copper is ingested through the diet and in tap water with copper pipes. Yet, wearing copper jewelry appears to provide a venue for copper absorption through the skin. Problems with carpal tunnel have been said to be alleviated with copper rings and bracelets. It's possible that direct absorption in problem areas is effective relief.
Copper is antibacterial and is reportedly being used in hospitals in Europe to stop the spread of staph infections and other bacterial infections. Though the hospitals are using copper in a variety of applications they have found that just by replacing door knobs with solid copper they have drastically reduced the incidents of infection.
To read more about copper, if it interests you, check out our article on our other website, Magpie Gemstones.
Copper Tarnish and the Dreaded Green Skin
Does copper leave a green mark on your skin? Not everyone who wears copper gets the green mark. Stress and diet (like too much junk food) can create an acidic environment on your skin. In the most simplistic terms, a green mark means you could use some lifestyle changes. Here is a link to a great book about acidic and alkaline diets and their effects on our health... "The Simplest Alkaline Diet Guide for Beginners + 46 Easy Recipes."
Raw copper may leave a green mark on your skin. Some believe that the green marks indicate your body is eliminating toxins and/or absorbing copper. For example, put a penny in an acidic solution such as vinegar or lemon juice and eventually the liquid will turn a bluish green and the penny will go to a bright copper. The bluish green is the eliminated oxidation- or the green mark on your skin, especially if the skin oils or sweat is acidic. The green mark is the chemical reaction.
I, personally, prefer to leave my copper natural as it is an organic, healing component that is constantly interacting with me and my environment. Not only does it sends me messages about my health status but it also provides me with necessary nutrients and energy. I see it as a living element and I want it to go through its natural process. I really do like my jewelry to shine, though, so I will buff the surface periodically with a polishing cloth (more on that below).
Will My Copper Jewelry Tarnish?
Chemically the copper oxidizes when it comes into contact with the heat, air, your skin oils, sweat, lotions, chlorinated pool water, etc. This oxidation may also tarnish the copper jewelry to a soft brown and left unchecked may darken it to a black. The quickest fix is to keep your copper jewelry clean and/or to create a barrier.
How to Keep your Copper Jewelry Clean and Shiny
To keep your patina finish copper clean, wipe your copper jewelry with a soft cloth dipped in warm water and mild soap. Rinse with clean water and thoroughly dry gently with a clean dry soft cloth. I like to put a small amount of coconut oil on my hands and then rub the piece of jewelry. Use this with caution and only if you know how the cord and gemstones will react to oil.
We recommend a sunshine cloth to polish your copper jewelry. However, proceed with caution, as a vigorous polish can completely remove a patina finish.
Do not use a silver polish for your copper jewelry, the silver polish can scratch and mar the soft copper surface.
*If your copper jewelry has tarnished to a black, you can either use a sunshine cloth to highlight-shine the copper. A sunshine cloth vigorously rubbed all over copper piece can remove all tarnish and patina, take it slow and look at your piece often while polishing.
*You can remove ALL tarnish/patina with a lemon and salt. Add salt directly to a lemon and scrub your jewelry,(repeat as necessary) then rinse with warm water and dry completely. WARNING- this will remove all tarnish and patina from your jewelry. To prevent any further air tarnish to your copper jewelry store your copper jewelry in a plastic bag in a cool dry place.
Barrier application- to avoid the green mark Apply ProtectaClear protective coating for metal to your jewelry piece and let it dry completely. This will create a barrier between your skin and the metal so that the copper can't oxidize with your skin oils, sweat or lotions. Reapply the coating once it wears off.
How to Patina Jewelry
Conversely, allow your copper to be exposed to air to patina naturally over time. You can also use LOS otherwise known as Stabilized Liver of Sulfur Patina Oxidation Gel to put a patina back onto copper. There are other ways as well. Check out our article on "Copper Patina" in our Magpie gem store.
Ultimately, copper is a beautiful healing energetic metal. It makes life better. That's the end goal after all, how to make it better!
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