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Best brass for jewellery?


#1

Hello again everyone,

I have been wondering about what brass has the best properties for jewellery? Commercial bronze has 90% copper and 10% zinc, red brass has 85% copper 15% zinc and has a rich yellow colour not unlike a paler 14K gold. Then off course you have cartridge brass with 30% zinc and gilding metal. With all these choices, I have been wondering which brass is recommended for jewellery in regards to working properties, colour etc. Thank you for any advice,

ArgentumMoon


#2

Personally, i like an alloy that is similar to the red brass, but to the traditional “pinchbeck” formula (83cu, 17zi) with a timeless medium carat gold appearance with low oxidation/ patina changes. The zinc has a low burn/ melt out temperature, so probably casting is the best bet with really good exhaust ventilation (neurological damage from zi is a considerable health hazard). Just my two cents, and I’ve been looking into tweeking commercially available alloys to match the old formula.

Eileen


#3

ArgentumMoon https://orchid.ganoksin.com/u/ArgentumMoon - December 26,
2018, 11:32pm

Hello again everyone,

I have been wondering about what brass has the best properties for
jewellery? Commercial bronze has 90% copper and 10% zinc, red brass has
85% copper 15% zinc and has a rich yellow colour not unlike a paler 14K
gold. Then off course you have cartridge brass with 30% zinc and gilding
metal. With all these choices, I have been wondering which brass is
recommended for jewellery in regards to working properties, colour etc.
Thank you for any advice,

ArgentumMoon

It depends on what sort of jewelry you’re talking about, and on your
particular tastes, as far as color goes. Ancient bronze (90% copper 10%
tin) has a lot to be said for it. I find it easier to work with than
alloys with zinc in them. Silicon bronze (which substitutes silicon for
the tin) is also a nice metal to work with - it’s not going to melt when
you get it up to soldering temps, unlike most brasses.

If you want to do something special, like reticulation, colored
patination or enameling with it, then look into some of the Japanese
copper alloys, like shakudo (copper plus gold) and shibuichi (copper
plus silver). There’s some information on working with these alloys on
the Ganoksin site:
https://orchid.ganoksin.com/t/working-with-shibuichi/31923/7

Andrew Werby
computersculpture.com


Working with Shibuichi?
#4

I agree that I think it becomes a personal choice/fav, i looove bronze, enjoy working with it, like how it wears over time, I find brass harder to work with but it sure is popular these days, both metals require a lot of polishing to keep the color like gold, again it’s just your preference, lately my hands give me so much trouble d/t arthritis I have decided these metals are too hard to work with so I am working with silver, gf, and gold as I can afford, I will miss my bronze, aloha, angi in hana


#5

I have been using brass (“Merlin’s gold” = red brass and ironically, “jeweler’s bronze”(!)) for about 40 years and love it. I often use hammered brazing rods as solder (good color match), so I don’t understand the comment that most brasses melt when brought up to soldering temperatures. I tell all my customers to wear their ring through everything (showers, dish-washing, etc.). They stay bright and the “green finger” possibility is mostly avoided. Perk it up occasionally with a silver-polishing cloth.

Brass will work for reticulation, but nickel-silver is even better.

Judy Bjorkman


#6

Pinchbeck has been mentioned. Its a brass alloy very similar to gold in appearance. I think there are still some American manufacturers of this alloy. There’s also a Gnoskin discussion of it