The oldest known metal, copper is believed to be the first metal used by man, approximately 10,000 years ago. There is evidence that the ancient Greeks possessed advanced smelting techniques. Copper was associated with the Greek goddess Aphrodite and her Roman counterpart, Venus. In Ancient Egypt copper was used for jewelry and ornaments worn on the body to keep away evil as well as to show social status.
Copper pendants have been found dating back to 8700 BC, and both Incan and Aztec warriors wore copper into battle, as they believed it increased their agility and skill. Copper has often been used for the beauty and luster that lends itself well to items of adornment. Most people like the warm glow of copper for their handcrafted jewelry pieces as copper’s beautiful earthy tone also gives a soothing and comforting effect. Its unique color also makes it the perfect material for creating accents in pieces made from other minerals such as silver and gold.
Copper is softer than silver, having a rating of 2.5-3 in Mohs scale. If kept from moisture and water, the metal holds its finish well and is slow to tarnish. Copper is also attributed healing properties, is inexpensive and plentiful, can be purchased in a wide variety of coated colors, and develops a beautiful green to blue patina as it ages, all of which makes copper a popular metal among many jewelry designers.