Captivating Copper - A Short History with Artisan Handmade Beauties



Throughout the history of man, copper has been one of the most important metals, having been in use for at least 10,000 years, probably more.  Since it could be found in great quantities near the Earth's surface, copper was the first metal mined.  Tools, weapons, household objects, jewelry and many other items were all crafted from copper.





Nevada Blue Turquoise Copper Figaro Chain Chandelier Niobium Earrings Handmade by Kathy of KatsAllThat



Czech White Opal and Copper Washed Elephant Boho Dangle Niobium Earrings Handmade by Kathy of KatsAllThat



Most likely, copper was first worked into jewelry about 9000 BC in the Iranian highlands of the Middle East. A copper pendant found in northern Iraq dates from about 8700 BC.  From there the use of copper spread out north and west, and by 2000 BC, copper crafting was widely found in Europe.  The working of copper arose independently in other parts of the world:  before 2800 BC in China, around 2000 BC in the Andes of South America and around 900 AD in West Africa.  Native Americans living near the Great Lakes were mining and creating beads from almost pure copper dating around 4000 BC.






Ancient Alien Hands Copper Rectangle Earring Pair Handmade by Kristi of Kristi Bowman Design 



Copper Butterfly Wing, 1 Pair, Handmade by Kristi of Kristi Bowman Design 



The first people who worked with copper made an important discovery:  metal hardens under repeated hammering but can be brought back to its initial workability by careful heating without a change in shape.  Most ancient objects were made through cycles of hammering and heating with a final hammering to obtain the desired hardness.  The ancient Egyptians created two of the most important alloys:  brass (a copper and zinc alloy) and bronze (a copper and tin alloy).  Indirectly, the smelting of copper laid the groundwork for the modern day steel and iron industries.




Turquoise Owl and Flowers Copper Dangle Earrings Handmade by Mary of PrettyGonzo



Turquoise and Copper Seahorse Beach Earrings Handmade by Mary of PrettyGonzo



The cultural role of copper has been very important throughout history.  The amount of copper a person possessed signified a higher social status in many civilizations.  By 2500 BC, Egyptian jewelry makers produced crowns, headdresses and intricate jewelry out of gold, silver, copper and bronze.  These artists were held in such high esteem that depictions of jewelry making were painted onto tomb walls.  Copper lumps were used as money in the Roman republic between the 6th and 3rd centuries BC.  At first it was traded "as is" but gradually the shape and look of copper became more important.  Julius Caesar had his own coins struck from brass and nobles wore copper and brass jewelry.  Copper was favored by many Renaissance and Baroque sculptors.  In Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), copper masks of the reputedly cannibalistic Sala Mpasu inspired terror and symbolized the power of a chieftain.






Copper Wire Weave Cuff Bracelet with Honey and Purple Beads Handmade by Cathy of CraftingMemories



Hand Knitted Super Bulky Purple Scarf with Copper Wire Weave Brooch Handmade by Cathy of CraftingMemories



Copper was also used on a mystical and medical level.  Egyptian hieroglyphs represent copper using the ankh, a symbol for eternal life.  Metaphysically, is it said to allow the wearer to recognize the barriers which are in the path of personal development.  For those who practiced the holistic Ayurveda in India, copper was used to make surgical and other medical instruments.  To fight off sore throats, ancient Aztecs gargled with a copper mixture.  Today, many people wear copper bracelets to relieve the ache of arthritis.  Also scientific research has been found that copper, like silver, is antibacterial.  In fact, brass door knobs have been found to disinfect themselves of most bacteria within an eight hour period!



Copper Wire Wrapped Bronzite Pendant Necklace Handmade by Nancy of Nancy's Knots, Lace and More



Copper, Brown and Black Wire Wrapped Necklace and Earring Handmade by Nancy of Nancy's Knots, Lace and More



Today, the major use of copper is in electrical wires (60%), plumbing and roofing (20%) and industrial machinery (15%).  Because of copper's superb conductivity abilities, it is invaluable in many of the modern technologies, such as the integrated chips used in computers and other high tech equipment.  Microwave ovens used copper magnetrons and more and more solar power collectors rely on copper for greater efficiency.  Being 100% recyclable, copper, like aluminum, can be recycled almost indefinitely without losing its form.  It is estimated that 80% of the copper mined throughout human history is still in use today!  After an important relationship with humans for 10,000 years, it's probably safe to say that copper will be around just as long in the future!


I hope you enjoyed the short history of copper and the artisan handmade items found above and below!




Copper and Crystals Costume Earrings for Women Handmade by Sharon of BlondePeachJewelry 



Green Crystals and Copper Beaded Tassel Necklace Handmade by Sharon of BlondePeachJewelry



Copper Chain Amethyst Necklace Handamde by Linda of Linor Store Jewelry



Copper and Clear Marble Necklace Handamde by Linda of Linor Store Jewelry



Hand Crocheted 3-D Red Rose Garden Doily with Copper Blending Filament, Set of 2, Handmade by Ruth of RSSDesignsInFiber



Copper Dog Rescue Heart and Paw Print Earrings with Pink Lampwork and Swarovski Crystals Handmade by Catherine of Shadow Dog Designs 



Copper Tree of Life Pendant Necklace with Green Malachite abd Czech Glass Handmade by Catherine of Shadow Dog Designs



I hope you have enjoyed each and every one of these unique handmade creations!  If you would like to make my day and the day of the talented artists featured, please leave a comment.  And any promotion you can do will be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!




My contact information:


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Beautifully Unique Handmade Jewelry

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Warm and Inviting Copper

What a wonderful article Catherine on the history of copper. Antique copper happens to be my most favorite metal to use with it's warm reddish tones. Bright coppers are also very lovely and looks great with summer designs. You have added some lovely copper pieces and I will be sharing. Thank you!

Copper post

Thank you for including my jewelry in your interesting blog on copper Catherine! Really enjoyed reading and learning about the history of copper. Promoting.

Interesting History on Copper!

Gorgeous copper creations, Catherine. Thank you for doing this blog and including my bracelet and brooch. Shared everywhere!

Beautiful and creative

Beautiful and creative Artisan Handmade with Copper! Thank you for including my Rose Garden Doily with the Copper Blending Filament!!

Great read

What a great read! I had no idea about copper, and that is crazy that 80 percent is still in use. Shared this with everyone - Blu dog sends Le Moose many tail wags

So Interesting, with Gorgeous Selections!

Thanks so much, Catherine, for this very interesting and beautiful blog post. Am honored to have have two items included here - thanks for that too! :) Will be sharing! Treats to Monsieur Moosie from Monsieur Gonze! :)

Copper Stories

A friend of mine believes copper helps in the healing process.

Thanks for including my copper necklaces.

Pinned to

Captivating Copper

More copper yumminess!! Thank you!!

The Allure of Copper

Thanks so much for the interesting article about copper. I found it very informative and interesting.

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