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There's another alternative to copper wire for your copper beading projects. Along with copper wire, most wholesalers carry a variety of copper chains that can be purchased in bulk lengths. You add your own copper jewelry findings to create chains, bracelets, and necklaces. Or, you can purchase finished chains in a variety of lengths. Look for a dealer who carries a variety of different chain styles. The best chains feature closed links for strength, and are created of solid copper links.
Most dealers sell copper beads in two different finishes, bright and antique. Bright copper beads are polished to a glossy sheen, while antique copper beads are treated to make them appear aged, or darker. Often, the bright beads are coated with a very thin layer of lacquer to keep them shiny and brilliant. Both types of beads should be available from most dealers, and combining them in designs adds depth and interest to most copper pieces. Copper jewelry findings also come in both these finishes.
Don't be surprised if your wholesaler runs out of copper beads, especially the faceted and decorated beads. Many of these handmade beads are created in India, and suppliers sometimes find it difficult to find them in good quality and high quantity. Many suppliers can simply run out of copper beads and copper jewelry findings from time to time. So, it's a good idea to buy in bulk when you find copper beads you really like. It's also a good idea to keep plenty of copper wire on hand to create your own jewelry findings when you need them in a hurry.
Some people believe in the therapeutic or even romantic powers of copper jewelry. Some wear copper beads, copper charms or a copper bracelet daily to combat arthritis. Copper has been associated with the Greek god Hermes, known as a catalyst for increasing mental acumen and a quick wit. It is also said to be a good 'conductor' of energies from otherworldly sources – hence it healing reputation. Copper ultimately gets it's name from the Latin "cuprum," the island of Cyprus, where the metal was mined in ancient times. Cyprus was called "The Sacred Isle of the Goddess Venus," so copper has been associated with that planet and is thought to have, like Venus, a balancing and stabilizing effect wherever it is placed.
Polishing solid copper is not hard; you just use a reliable copper polish and rub away! However, polishing plated copper can be trickier. If the plating is not thick enough, or you rub too hard, you can rub at least some of the plating off. How do you combat this problem? Buy from a reputable wholesaler who carries good quality products. Test a tiny area of your plated beads before you polish them, and don't rub too hard as you clean your beads. Most plated copper jewelry findings have a very thin layer of plating, so you shouldn't polish them at all.
Traditionally, enamel projects are created on metal pieces like copper beads. If you use copper beads when you enamel, look for dealers who carry the right type of beads for enameling projects. These beads should be seamless, and they should have an unpolished surface to take and hold the enamel as you apply it to the copper. Many enamelers also use copper tubing as a base for their beads. The advantage of using pre-made wholesale copper beads for enameling projects is that you don't have to create bead shapes during the process. The pre-made copper beads are already formed and drilled, so all you need to do is craft the enamel.
Most wholesalers who carry copper beads will also carry copper wire, which is excellent for stringing most copper beading projects. Copper wire comes in a variety of gauges, and most dealers stock several different sizes. The higher the gauge number, the softer the wire is, so if you're a beginner, you may want to start with thicker wire that you can manipulate easily and work your way up to thinner, softer wire. Because copper wire is so easy to work with, once you get used to it, you can create many of your own findings, from copper earwires to eye pins, jump rings, and connectors.
Copper is a wonderful and almost living metal that can make amazing jewelry. Not only beautiful, copper jewelry is often worn by people suffering from arthritis because it is considered a pain-reliever. Allegedly, the copper is absorbed by the skin and has pain relief properties. This trace copper absorption is also considered by athletes as a sports performance enhancer. Some people also believe copper beads soothe and conduct healing energies. When you re ready to try your hand at making copper jewelry, remember that copper is a soft metal and can be easily drilled, so you can make a hole in a pendant or piece for use with a bail. You can also wrap solid copper nuggets with silver or copper wire to make an unusual bead, necklace or pendant. When considering what to use when stringing your piece, consider using black or permanently colored copper wire. You can also find copper clasps and findings to complete your copper piece.
Copper beads and wire are stunning, but what if you'd like to add some different hues to your jewelry designs? Look for another copper wire option at your wholesaler – colored copper wire. These wires come in a variety of gauges, but they also come in a rainbow of colors. It's also soft enough to wrap around gemstones and other items in your design. The wire is coated with colored enamel that helps make it stronger and also resists tarnishing and wear. You can buy this wire in bulk on a coil or spool, and it's quite inexpensive through most wholesale outlets.
There's a new trend in copper beads that some wholesalers are beginning to carry. These are ceramic beads are kiln-fired, dipped in metal, kiln-fired again, and then dipped in metal once more. This technique gives the fine, highly-carved detail of ceramic beads combined with the sheen of copper. The beads are available in copper or copper patina finishes, and are quite striking. Most dealers refer to these beads as "metalized ceramic," and they also come in other metal finishes. They come in all sizes from seed beads to large, singular beads and findings.
The "two tone" look, combining gold hued metals and silver is very popular because it allows the wearer to use any of their jewelry pieces at the same time. Some people don't have a lot of money to throw at pieces like this. One creative solution is the use of copper beads with silver accents in your beaded jewelry. These beads typically have a solid copper body and are accented with sterling silver grade silver. They are also usually hand painted and yet reasonably priced. Get the look of an expensive piece, without the cost!
Watching your beautiful copper jewelry discolor can be disheartening. The culprit is oxidation. Chemicals in the air cause darkening when the copper jewelry is stored or even just worn. Wearing your copper beads or copper bracelet in a swimming pool, for example, can cause the copper to oxidize and appear tarnished. This darkening can be removed from your with a good polishing cloth and jewelry cleaner. Or use a mixture of 1/2 cup each flour, salt, powdered detergent and very warm water plus 3/4 cup white vinegar and 1/4 cup lemon juice.
Copper beads can be created of solid copper or from pewter (or another base metal) and then plated. Solid copper beads wear better than plated beads, because they do not have a coating that will wear away. Eventually, no matter how good it is, the plating will wear off, especially if beads rub against each other in the jewelry design. The wear of rubbing against the wearer's skin will also cause the coating to wear away in time. Of course, solid copper beads cost more. Good dealers will offer both types of copper beads for your use.
In nature, copper is most commonly found near bright blue/green stains, called "copper blooms." All copper minerals are brightly colored, usually green or blue. Copper, even in jewelry form, must be polished to take on its famous burnished gold hue. Today copper comes in many shapes and sizes for jewelry making. Not only can you find standard round copper beads and copper nuggets, you can also find pressed and carved beads, and even copper bead caps which can go between glass beads or gemstone beads and add interesting texture and style to your bead jewelry. This unusual metal can bring a new style to your designs if you usually use sterling or gold, so consider copper when you are formulating your bead jewelry design.
Your imagination can run free when you use permanently colored copper wire. Copper wire is perfect for wire wrapping, wire forming and bead stringing. It comes in a variety of rich metallic colors to complement copper beads, ornaments, pottery and sculptures.
Colored copper wire is enamel coated to resist tarnishing, chipping and peeling. Making copper jewelry is easy because copper wire is soft and can be formed easily using jewelry pliers and tools.