Thursday, September 15, 2011

A very real question...

First of all, thank you for your sweet comments on my necklace yesterday,
they definitely made me smile. :)
I'm so enjoying working with metal, and if you're thinking at all about getting into it, I highly suggest it, it's definitely worth it.
It is a slightly more expensive hobby than beading, but you are truly only limited by your imagination.

My question is this:
What are your thoughts about silver vs. copper?
Do you own any silver jewelry?
Do you own any copper jewelry?
Which do you like more and why?
Have you recently purchased either?

I bought a sliver of silver not long ago about the size of my palm to use for rings and swallowed hard when I saw the purchase price. 
I'd like to buy more but I'm in a debate with myself based solely on the cost. 
I'd just like to hear some other opinions.

Thanks again for your comments, and for those of you who asked, I won't be selling this piece.
It's really my first completed piece of jewelry, and I think I'll be wearing and enjoying it this fall!
Have a great day guys!


  1. Marcie your piece is just stunning, i love it.
    Hmmmm your question intrigues me, Silver vs Copper.
    I have silver jewellery, (not much i might add, as it is pricey), i purchase alot of costume jewellery that is of course plated. I don't have any copper jewellery, but i do really like it, i love the richness and warmth of the metal, and the fact that you can treat it like a precious metal for the fraction of the cost.
    But herein lies the problem. I'm about to start metal smithing at college, the cost of silver scares the life out of me, we as students however are taught to use sustainable materials, which is all very well, but what the customer wants is an entirely different matter.
    Copper is not well received in retail jewellery, (if you have a flick through retail jeweller, which maybe a British publication i'm not sure, there aint no copper to be seen in there), I have found in most cases that it's makers themselves who are more open to copper as we know what a fantastic metal it is and how to wear it, the retail public are afraid of the colouring of their skin from the copper, the fact that is so cheap, or that they asume they have an allergic reaction to it.
    I personally think we as makers should push the positive promotion of copper, and other metals like Brass and steel, i for one intend to study this very question as one of my assignments for college, i think it's a valid investigation.
    Of course if we promote the use of copper will that in turn make it become a precious metal and push the price up? This i guess is something that time will tell

  2. Marcie, I have tried to contact you via e-mail the past 2 days. My link for the embroidery course isnt working! Please get back with me. Thank you! Tracey

  3. Copper vs. Silver? I have both and tend to think of copper as being more casual. I have a couple of handmade pieces that combine the two metals and these have a more casual feel to them as well. Also -I probably find myself wearing it more frequently in the fall just because it blends better with the colors I am wearing.

  4. Copper vs. Silver...hummm...this is a constant battle for me too. Personally I prefer silver, however with the current cost, ouch! But, I like copper equally as well with the right stones/beads. However, I find that when I am exhibiting my work, people more times than not opt for the silver, regardless that it is much more expensive.
    Your piece is gorgeous! I love the design you sawed on the backsheet. I love metalsmithing too, it's where I find my happy place.

  5. I love the look of copper but the fact it turns my skin green is very offputting for me. Many years ago I had a ring made for my mother which was made from copper - it was her name. She absolutely adored the ring but it turned her finger green.

    I think if I had to choose I would pick silver - purely because of the green factor but I adore the look of copper.

    Hmmm that probably doesn't help a huge amount!!!

    Karyn ♥

  6. Since I have metal allergy (copper and brass), and I don't like gold, I can only wear silver jewelry. Or not even that, due to the price :))) But I would love to wear copper and brass jewelry too, since the look and feel of these is totally different, they look warmer, more natural than silver, and they go better with certain stones that silver. Your leaf pendant is just perfect with copper :)

  7. Did you create that piece? Good golly, it's gorgeous! To answer, I love both. I have lots of silver but remember well working with it and it's expensive. Copper is easily workable, beautifully warm and much easier on the budget. The two combined? Love that, too!

  8. I am not sure but I think I heard some one saying if you varnished the copper with clear varnish on the places which are in contact with the skin will not turn your skin green

  9. Hi Marci, I've just discovered your blog via Karyn's blog. I love the piece you made, it's beautiful! I love both copper and silver, but I own more silver than copper because I have found it more available. I have worked with silver wire and now with copper. I'm a novice at metalwork but I really enjoy doing it. I love the color of copper and the patina you can get with it. And, in the fall I find I wear copper jewelry more. Just my two cents!

  10. I like copper and brass, not least because they work so well with my favourite colours. And I like working with it, can find interesting supplies in the material and so on.

    I know many, espcecially those that don't work with jewellery themselves, are afraid of turning green from wearing it, though. Waxing or using a laquer to seal the metal might be needed to attract those costumers -- but some might not even look twice on copper jewellery as miss info on any type of anti-tarnish treatment.

    One thing that I wonder about is why Americans (it's mostly Americans I hear talk about this) never consider pewter as an alternative to silver if the price for precious metals feels too steep. And I'm talking real, high quality britannia, not cheap lead-laden cast metals. Now, I know it's much softer than silver and don't like being stored cold, but really it is a traditional jewellery material and pewtersmithing is a good ol' tradition. I've got some fab engraved pewter jewellery myself made by a swedish artisan/pewtersmith. It's not just for casting toy soldiers or make crappy plated components for massproduced tat.

    Stainless steel is also a cool material if you want a "white metal". Harder to work with, but very nice -- and you can give it a fab heat patina with a simple butane torch. Also, steel appeals to both men and women. And it's used by popular brands so people are used to the idea of quality steel jewellery.

    Only alternative to silver, which I've seen from some US suppliers and I don't like, is nickel silver. Why on earth consider that an alternative when so many people are allergic or risk becoming allergic if using it? (Since I live in the EU, I would personally not even be able to legally sell jewellery made from that material.)

  11. First, I wanted to say that this is an exquisite piece. Second, as for copper vs. silver, I have a LOT of silver jewelry, and a few pieces of copper. I wear mostly silver and a little bit of gold (wedding and engagement rings). I don't work at all in metals, at least not yet; I'm mostly a beader. But I think I can learn, and I always enjoy seeing others' work.

  12. I'm more and more into copper, it's more affordable and I like the warm tones.

  13. Really interesting reading all the comments here. I am a beader - I weave and wrap - but not into metalsmithing (yet!) so I am thinking of this really as a consumer rather than a maker. I love both silver and copper. And yes, I would expect to pay a LOT more for silver than I would for copper. I guess if you are making a very time consuming piece (and again, I have no idea how long stone setting/piercing takes!), silver might be the better option from that point of view. Silver is definitely seen as a much finer metal. However, I love both copper and silver. I have copper and silver jewellery. But, most of my jewellery is beaded, or costume. The metalsmithed pieces I have, I would view as more luxury items and they are silver. I haven't considered this before and I would definitely be open to copper but, I honestly can't remember seeing much of it about, anywhere.

    I do however love the idea of pewter as another alternative to silver. I think it is a gorgeous metal and I have bought some beautiful components in it. I think it has tons of potential and if beading components came more often in pewter, then I would use it much more often. It isn't very common in the UK.

    I am excited to see where your new stone setting takes you!

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