What is the history of copper jewelry?

- Aug 21, 2018-

What is the history of copper jewelry?

Copper is the oldest metal ore. Originally mined by prehistoric man, evidence points to the first discovery of copper approximately 13,000 years ago. Refining processes took a little longer to establish, around 5000 BC, mainly in the Middle East.

The Egyptians were the first to create metal alloys from copper – bronze (copper and tin) and brass (copper and zinc). The metal was highly prized in its natural form, as well as for use as an alloy. The more copper a person owned, the greater their social status within society.

Due to its malleability, jewelry makers found it an easy medium to work with and were commissioned by royalty and high officials to create crowns and other elements that signified their station. Copper was also used in religious and spiritual ceremonies, as well as for medical procedures. Hieroglyphics depict that not only was copper valuable, but that copper jewelers and the owners of copper held an increased status in that era.

Early man in the Americas also used copper, mainly to produce jewelry items such as beads and earrings. With the arrival of Europeans on the continent, copper jewelry, mainly bracelets, gained a whole new significance as a trading item for Native Americans.  To this day, Native Americans still value copper jewelry highly. In fact, many Native American reservations still produce copper jewelry, with bracelets, pendants and earrings containing Native American markings and etchings being a popular tourist souvenir.

Today, the healing properties and simple beauty of copper still make it a fashionable and highly sought after jewelry item.