Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.---C. S. Lewis
Monday, January 10, 2011
With the ever increasing cost of silver many jewelry artists are using more copper and its alloys in their designs. One of the choices is bronze.
So what is bronze?
Wikipedia gives the following description of bronze. "Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive, but sometimes with other elements such as phosphorus, manganese, aluminum, or silicon. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, giving its name to the Bronze Age. The discovery of bronze enabled people to create better metal objects than previously possible. Tools, weapons, armor, and various building materials, like decorative tiles, made of bronze were harder and more durable than their stone and copper predecessors. The earliest tin-alloy bronzes date to the late 4th millennium BC in Susa (Iran) and some ancient sites in Luristan (Iran) and Mesopotamia (Iraq)."
The melting point of Bronze varies depending on the actual ratio of the alloy components and is about 1742 oF (950 °C).” The melting point of sterling silver is 1650 oF (899 °C) and the melting point of copper is 1984 oF (1084 °C).
The bronze used for making jewelry is approximately 85% copper and 15% zinc. Jewelry grade bronze goes by the generic names of Rich Low Brass, Jeweler's Bronze and Red Brass and the brand names Nu Gold (or NuGold) and Merlin's Gold. They are all the same metal. Confused? So am I.
Bronze is fairly resistant to oxidation (called patina by artists and tarnishing by others), but will form a patina with the application of such chemiclas as hot liver of sulfur or Jax Brown-Black.
Are you using less silver (sterling or fine) in your designs?