Brass has been an important metal throughout history. Known for its yellowish warm tones that can gleam as good as gold, brass is a versatile metal that has numerous applications, and is used in the making of decorative items, machinery, household items and our favorite, jewelry.
Brass is one of the most popularly used metals for jewelry. It has been used since its creation in making beautiful jewelry designs. Due to its affordability, workability and durability, brass is an exceptionally good choice for jewelry and is increasingly being used in the jewelry world.
What is brass?
Brass is an alloy made of mainly of copper and zinc. The proportions of the copper and zinc can vary do produce different types of brass. As a zinc-copper alloy, there are many different types of brass, dependent on the concentration of the different metals in the alloy. There are 60 different types of brass ranging from Abyssinian gold, which is 90% copper, to Delta Metal, which only has a concentration of 55% copper.
The varying concentrations of zinc and copper give the different types of brass a wide color variation and an array of brass metal properties. Brass with higher copper proportion are a reddish brown color, while brass with a higher zinc concentration take on a lighter silvery yellow hue. Some types of brass also have low percentages of other elements added, including silicon, aluminum, manganese, and nickel.
At Malkia E, we never use Nickel or add any other metals to our brass due to known irritability to skin.
Variations of brass has been around since 500 BC and has been used in many parts of the world. Brass has been referenced at least 39 times in the Bible as well as by prominent writers such as Shakespeare. Around the Middle Ages, the use of brass flourished, and the metal was used extensively.
From the earliest times brass has been used in making beautiful decorative items, its warm golden tones give an impression of sophistication, class, and value without the high price tag of gold.
Brass in Africa
In Africa, brass was used in much of the art in the region. Although frequently referred to as bronzes, many of the African Cultures used Brass to make adornment for Royalty Members, religious artifacts and relics as it was more valuable in Africa than in Europe.
Brass is known for its strength and durability. However, it is also very malleable, making it ideal for shaping into intricate jewelry designs. It does not break easily as it is not a brittle metal. Rather, it tends to stretch when under pressure. Brass jewelry can last through the ages with reasonable care and maintenance.
Brass does not rust and is resistant to corrosion. However, it does develop a patina, or greenish layer, over time. This is due to the copper content in the alloy.
Because of the pliable yet durable nature of Brass , jewelry designers popularly use this metal. The beautiful warm tones of brass ranges from yellow to dull gold. Often, large statement pieces are made using brass for a stunning effect. However, you can also find brass in dainty minimalist designs. Brass can be made into all forms of Jewelry , including rings, necklaces, bracelets, bangles, and earrings.
Our Jewelry Creating brass from new copper and zinc would be too wasteful and is uneconomical for the industry to produce from scratch. Brass can be recycled over and over without losing its inherent properties in the process and therefore sustainable. Compared with aluminum and steel, recycling brass is less energy-intensive, so has a lower carbon footprint.
At Malkia E, we use recycled Brass in combination with responsibly sourced cow horn and bones to make our jewelry, which would otherwise be discarded.
Armed with this knowledge about brass, I hope you are now confident to add or start your collection of Brass Jewelry. To help you get started, find our bold, one of a kind adornment here and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram on our journey as we bring you beautiful adornment hand forged in Kenya.