Wire Jewelry: Using Copper as an Alternative

Although I think the topic of using copper wire as an alternative to silver these days is well covered on the web, I've been seeing some things that I think are worth comment.

I typically wander jewelry stands in malls, department stores and well, just about anywhere I go. I'm like a highly trained hunting dog in this respect, sniffing out any and all jewelry in the universe surrounding me. Most of us, as I said, are already hip to the fact that sterling silver, fine silver and argentium silver prices have been skyrocketing up for some time. Copper, Nugold and alternative wires are the obvious second choices for wire jewelry these days as a result.

It's not only we art jeweler's who have experienced this phenomena but jewelry manufacturer's as well. This is quite obvious if you simply look around at mass produced jewelry in retail outlets: they're showing bare copper wire, in all it's "pinkness" in not only wire jewelry but sheet jewelry pieces as well. Now, obviously, these manufacturers have coated the wire to prevent oxidation but at least the way I think, oxidation (darkening) is what has always made copper such a rich and beautiful material to use. It deepens the coloration and brings out the richness of the wire. I just have a hard time warming up to the look of bare copper wire jewelry as really "finished".

Now, having this negative reaction to what may be one of the newest trends makes me want to analyze my own reaction a bit. I'm accustomed to prototyping almost all of my jewelry making ideas in copper wire first. Obviously, because these are most often crude mock ups of what I envision as a completed piece, I've lost some objectivity here.

I've spotted this new "raw" copper jewelry at Nordstroms and Macys among other places enough now that I just may have to open my mind to what's clearly an upcoming trend in not only wire jewelry but mass market jewelry as well.

If you haven't read my post on using Nugold as an alternative to silver wire, check it out here: