Many people have a love / hate relationship with brass jewelry. Its ability to change color in the environment makes it unpredictable, and not everyone loves the darker brass look. Its weight feels substantial and luxurious, which is definitely a plus. But if you have the right chemistry, it can turn your skin green. What’s a jewelry wearer to do?
Let’s take a look at Brass in hand stamped jewelry, and some tips on wearing it with the least amount of frustration.
Brass is a mix of copper and zinc, and is considered a base metal (as opposed to sterling silver which is considered a precious metal). Here at Jessie Girl we use only NuGold Brass. NuGold is also a mix of copper and zinc, but the percentage of copper is higher than in traditional brass. This gives NuGold brass a color that closely resembles actual gold, whereas regular brass has a “yellower” hue.
Being a base metal, brass reacts to the environment around it. Over time, it turns darker as it is exposed to oxygen and other elements. It may develop a patina quickly or it may take a while, it really depends on a number of factors. Heat, humidity, chemicals - they all help with the oxidation process.
Brass is a heavier metal, and brass jewelry pieces have a nice weight to them. It is also harder than sterling silver, making it a bit more brittle and just a touch harder to stamp. But that hardness also makes it more durable, and less likely to show scratching. It’s also less likely to become misshapen, which is great for pieces such as cuff bracelets.
We use brass mostly for cuff bracelets because they are easy to clean if a customer wants to keep their piece from oxidizing. Including a polishing pad with our pieces lets our customers clean them easily.
Brass shows off our different types of finishes beautifully. It looks great polished, but our brushed finish creates an elegant, understated look. And hammering brings out a terrific shine and texture.
We also offer “natural” stamping on our brass pieces, meaning that we can leave the black patina out of the impressions. On the brass this look is especially pleasing, and is a favorite of our customers.
If you wish to keep your brass bright, there are a few things you can do.
While brass jewelry can be a bit tricky, overall it is fun to wear and adds a functional style and warm color to your hand stamped jewelry collection.