Alternative Metals for Jewelry Making: 6 Reasons I’ve Become a Fan of Brass Jewelry

White metals have always been my thing. Back in the 1980s and ’90s, I did wear yellow gold jewelry–but mostly because that’s what my Dad, who was my primary jewelry-gifter at the time, bought me. Soon after that, possibly during my “hippie” college years, I became a fan of silver jewelry. (I’ve always been a HUGE fan of silver everything-else.)

brass jewelry components and stampings from Nunn Design
brass jewelry components from Nunn Design

As an official grown-up and many years since then, I stuck with white metals, adding the occasional white gold piece to my mostly silver jewelry wardrobe. When I started making my own jewelry, silver was naturally the way to go, for personal preference as well as affordability.

But then . . . well, I won’t remind you what has happened to the price of silver in the last decade or so. I’ll skip that part and just say that in the past few years, I’ve really started to appreciate alternative metals for jewelry making, particularly copper and brass jewelry. We’ve talked about copper many times before, but brass hasn’t gotten its share of the fame, so I wanted to give it some attention today. Here are six reasons why I like making brass jewelry.


brass patina: create colorful heat patina on brass jewelry
brass with heat patina

1. Flame painting (aka heat patina) on brass jewelry is fun and beautiful.

Just like copper, brass gives up gorgeous colors and patterns when you pass it through a torch flame.

2. Brass resembles gold. I haven’t worn yellow-gold jewelry in ages and wasn’t sure it was right with my skin tone, but recently I’ve been more drawn to the warm glow of yellow gold, especially textured 18k and 24k gold. Raw brass jewelry can provide nearly the same warm yellow glow (and heft) of gold at a fraction of the ever-rising cost.


brass jewelry components enamel beautifully
I’m making this stacked flower ring using three of the brass flowers from Nunn Design, a super-convenient sterling rivetable ring from, and #2839 red enamel from Barbara Lewis’s Painting with Fire Studio.

3. Brass stands up to a flame.

While I’ve been enameling and playing with color on alternative metals like copper and brass, I’ve spent a small fortune buying metal components, charms and such at bead and craft stores, experimenting with what can take the heat and what can’t. My findings? 99.5% of the stuff I’ve bought can’t handle the heat of a torch, even ones that are silver plated, and they become splats on my soldering table (or shoot sparks all over my bench, yikes!). It seems more and more of the commercial metal jewelry components are plated aluminum or pewter, and they melt immediately. Brass, however, like the brass jewelry components and stampings in Nunn Design’s newest collection, hold up to the flame. They’re beautiful, too.

4. Transparent enamels on brass jewelry is gorgeous. I’ve been using transparent reds and greens in particular on some of those new Nunn Design brass stamped pieces, and I’m in love with the results. The transparent red on brass makes the whole thing look like rose gold or regular gold with just the prettiest hint of pink in it and I even see a touch of shimmer, like really pretty old-fashioned hard candy. Love.

soldering brass jewelry is just as easy as soldering silver
soldering brass

5. Soldering brass jewelry is not as hard as you might think, especially if you just have one step to solder. There’s only one kind of solder for brass (no hard, soft, etc. to figure out and keep separated, like for silver), so there’s no confusion there, and it comes in easy-to-use paste. You can learn more about soldering brass jewelry here and here.


create brass jewelry patina using household items
Kerry’s brass patinated with potato chips

6. You can create beautiful patinas on brass, too.

Kerry Bogert’s Rustic Wrappings has great “recipes” for creating patinas on alternative metals in copper and brass jewelry using household items like vinegar, salt, and ammonia–even salt-and-vinegar potato chips, as shown here. My favorite verdigris looks just as lovely on brass jewelry as on copper.

To learn more about using alternative metals like brass and copper in your jewelry creations, subscribe to Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry magazine. You’ll find stylish copper and brass jewelry projects that feature affordable alternative metals (both in sheet and wire) in every issue, all created by top jewelry designers that you know and love.

Check out Nunn Design’s Facebook page, website and blog for jewelry inspiration and more of their great products!

brass jewelry components from Nunn Design

What about you? Do you love brass? Have I missed any reasons to love it? Please share in the comments below!

The giveaway has ended. Our friends at Nunn Design love brass, too, and they’ve provided a yummy collection of brass and other alternative metal jewelry-making components from their 2012 Fall Collection to give to one of you! Just leave your comment (before midnight on Sunday, January 20, 2013) below and one of you will be chosen at random to win the goodies.

Other topics you may enjoy:


Alternative Metal Jewelry, Blog
Tammy Jones

About Tammy Jones

I'm the editor of Jewelry Making Daily. I also have my own handmade jewelry business on Etsy, Southern Baubelles. I love working with metal clay, found objects, silver, copper, brass, enamel, resin, and genuine gemstones. I also enjoy knitting, paper crafts like card making and scrapbooking, cooking, traveling, the seashore, and snow!

420 thoughts on “Alternative Metals for Jewelry Making: 6 Reasons I’ve Become a Fan of Brass Jewelry

  1. I absolutely love it!
    I am a “baby” at jewelry making but it has won my heart right from start, it’s fabulous to combine, perfect for a vintage feel and I’d be oh, so happy to win this!!
    Your article is invaluable for me, thank you for all the great info…


  2. I’ve discovered that pleasures of brass this past year and using it more and more in my designs. Thanks JMJ and Nunn for providing this wonderful giveaway opportunity!

  3. Great reasons for using brass! I found it to be very affordable so when I’m trying out new techniques that might not come out so great, I use brass. I like brass pieces that have dimension, those that are buffed with a sanding block so some parts are shiny and some aren’t. One thing I’ve really enjoyed doing with brass blanks is handpainting designs with prepackaged patinas like vintaj and swellagant – with a tiny paint brush you can create tiny one of a kind designs

  4. I have a tendency to use silver colored wire and findings more often than brass and I like the combo of using silver colors with copper too. I think my like of silver is because in the 1980s silver was the thing to wear, even my wedding ring and engagement ring are white gold. I really should use more brass though and I’d like to see what I can do with brass and copper together as I haven’t tried that yet. Don’t know why, just haven’t tried it. Would love to win this, it would give me some good inspiration. 🙂

  5. I love Nunn design. I use a lot of metals in my pieces and Nunn design has a lot of great products. I work a lot with resin and I love to use their bezels. I’ve been using a lot of brass lately, with resin and crystal clay. Thank you Sara.

  6. Being new to jewelry making I have shied away from doing much with metals. I did enameling on copper when younger so the interest is there. Your reason #5 struck a chord of inspiration with me ! Easy to solder ! And receptive to flaming ! I shall have to make an investment in brass I see. Thank you for the article !

  7. I love the idea of work with different metals, I’m just starting with this skill, but I love it I did start with aluminium, now I working copper, the idea of work with brass it’s really attractive, thanks for this oportunity

  8. I haven’t used much brass, but just today I ordered some brass lobster clasps for a photo bracelet I’m making. I’m looking forward to using more brass findings this year!

  9. I have used Brass components in many ways, but am still new to all of the patina effects that you can do. I have signed up for 3 classes at the Bead & Button Show this May/June to explore this metal in greater detail. I have been a fan of Nunn Designs since the first time I met them at B & B 4 years ago.

  10. I’ve done some chain maille using jewelry brass, and now after reading about what you can do with a torch here to “paint” the brass, I’m going to get getting some brass from my independent craft store to play with! 🙂

  11. I love brass, especially Nunn Design! I recently started playing with different patinas using brass pieces. It’s so much fun and very addicting! lol Thanks for your great article and ideas. 🙂

  12. I’m a complete Jewellery making newbie so still learning my way. I absolutely adore what you have done with the brass and am really excited to try it out myself. I would very much love to win the gorgeous pack from Nunn Designs! 🙂

  13. I have begun working more with brass, for many of the reasons you’ve listed – you can really turn it into so many different finishes, and the price is so much better than silver. Thanks for the chance to win the Nunn Designs assortment!

  14. I have to admit that I haven’t considered using brass before – what a versatile (and reasonably priced) metal I’ve been missing out on. You have made a believer out of me; I’m going to try it!

  15. I would be absolutely thrilled if I won this! I love using brass finings in my altered vintage necklaces, and would love to add a sampling of the Nunn Designs line into some projects! Fingers Crossed,


  16. I like working with brass for a number of reasons. It’s easy to cut into the shape I want, it looks beautiful in whatever for I use, from monogram jewelry to bracelets. I am thinking of making a ring next.

  17. I’ve been using a lot more mixed metals and love the looks I can achieve with brass. The findings and metals are amazing. I would dearly love to win! Thanks for the opportunity.

  18. I’ve enjoyed working with brass before and plan to try more in the future, I especially look forward to trying brass with enamel, should be great fun to try out.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win these great goodies!

  19. I’m new to the “metals” world, however, am acquiring the tools I need to get started, taking classes, and reading to gain more knowledge. Thanks for the giveaway.

  20. I took a mixed media class last summer and have been hooked ever since. What a wonderful looking collection from Nunn Design…looks like eye candy to me!

  21. When I started making jewelry I would use brass because it was more affordable. I moved on to other metals after a couple months but am now finding that I have been going back to the brass. I think I kind of missed the look of it in my pieces.

  22. Big brass fan! Glad to see I’m not the only one! I’ve seen a lot of nose turn up at the mention of brass. I absolutely love working with it. Brass wire has been really fun to work with for making my own components and closures.

  23. Thank you for such an informative article! I have always hesitated to use gold and silver in case I mess it up, but with brass I get to be very brave! I like my pieces to be grungy and old looking, and of course brass is great for that as well 🙂


  24. Wow what a great offer. Thanks to Nunn & Beading Daily for this opportunity. I’ve loved and have been playing with brass for several years now. It can’t be beat.

  25. Brass has become a favorite metal of mine to work with because of the similar look to gold that ages into a beautiful patina. I think I would enjoy. Ranching out into more usage of it

  26. I love brass, especially patinated and antiqued brass. I haven’t really had much chance to play with the Nunn components, but they look like a fabulous range of versatile pieces.

  27. Brass is so versatile! I especially love the effects of etching and patina in brass. Plus, it’s such a beautiful and affordable alternative to semi-precious metals (thank goodness!).

    Thanks for the tips and ideas!

  28. I love alternatives. Copper washers, brass shell casings and aluminum wire is great too. Even titanium. Stainless steel. BUT I’d like to do more with patinas. I have ren wax…but I love ooak with stampings, and etchings and patinas. Endless opportunities abound.

  29. I have a real affinity for brass, and love the look. Since mixing metals is a popular technique, using brass with other metals is even more fun! Nunn Designs are so delightful. Have really enjoyed the new products from 2012, and was just admiring the 2013 products that have recently come out.

  30. Copper has always been my go-to metal of choice though recently I have been introduced to brass and I loved it. I sure hope to win the package so that I can play some more,

  31. I, too, love brass. I love the look, and I love the affordability. But I’ve never been adventurous enough to alter it in any of those ways. It makes me want to try… 🙂

  32. I love adding color to brass by putting it in the oven or using alcohol paints. Nail polish also works. Some of the brass pieces work well with bead embroidery on a cuff bracelet or necklace. Oh – so many ideas & so much fun!

  33. I have always loved metal in jewelry, but was afraid it was too difficult a skill to master in my simple jewelry making repertoire. I grew braver, though, in accidentally discovering a great great grandfather had been a blacksmith. Now, I experiment and am steadily learning and hoping that my ancestor stands over my shoulder, just to the right, whispering encouragement.

  34. So many good ideas! I can’t wait to get started, but the garage has to warm up a bit first! I love the look of brass and think the verdigris finish is so elegant. Just bought a silent auction vase that was finished to look like verdigris. I’m going to use that for a vessel style piece of jewelry.

  35. I too love white metals and I love using white metals – sterling silver, argentium, even aluminum. I have not thought of using brass – would love to give it a try.

  36. Can hardly wait to start on these good ideas. I already have the book on torch fired enamels, but am working up the courage to light the torch! Experimenting has been so much fun!

  37. I am a simple beader, doing mostly Native American type beadwork. However, recently I have started to play around with chains and metal pieces. I love anything unusual and the brass firing sounds like a great deal of fun as does the glazing. What a delightful gift it would be to win this giveaway.

  38. There’s so many wonderful things you can do with brass! Guilder’s Paste is one of my favorites, as well as Swellegant and Vintaj color treatments. I just got some new alcohol ink pens, and I”d love to try these out and blog about them. 😀

  39. I just started using brass in my jewelry because I want to do a steampunk line. I would love to win and use different brass findings in my designs! Times are tough financially, and perhaps this would help me out a bit. 🙂

  40. I have been working mostly with copper since it is cheaper than silver, but I’ve been looking for other cheap alternatives so that I don’t get bored. I love that you have shared using brass because now my curiosity and excitement for a new adventure is growing. Thank you for sharing the information, especially about the easy patina and enameling.

  41. I love brass, and I agree it resembles gold and I love the price. Brass and copper are two of my favorite mediums. I really want to try heat patina, that looks so cool!

  42. When I took a jewellery making course at the local college last year, I learned that the full time students used brass and copper as well. I didn’t realize how cool these metals could be for jewellery making. These trinkets look very yummy indeed. Thanks for sharing this info.

  43. Enameling BRASS! Wow, this opens up a whole new jewelry making world. I must try this. Love the giveaway from Nunn. Have my fingers crossed!
    Doreen aka LuniLadi

  44. I’ve always used brass in my jewelry and handmade book covers. I was happy to see that I can expand on the “as is” for the metal! Running for the potato chip bag as I type! Ha! Just kidding.

  45. I’ve always been fond of copper – there’s something about the color that really reaches out to me – but I’ve recently been doing some experimenting with brass and enjoying it a lot. It’s also less anxiety-provoking to work with something that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg! Since most of my jewelry making is for relaxation and my own pleasure at this time, that’s important, too.

  46. I have just started using bronze in my mixed media jewelry. I love the concept of mixing, matching and layering!!
    This would be a great addition to my jewelry work and Nunn is an expert when it comes to patina’s and using metal. It would be an honor to win this prize from her!!

    Thank you,
    Kim Gorman

  47. I’ve been using brass for a while now. I especially like etching it!! I’ve also been using the wire for years as an alternative to gold, especially when even goldfill became so pricey
    Thanks for the wonderful giveaway!!


  48. I love working with brass and copper. I never know what I’ll be taking home from an outdoor show. If it’s cold and misty you get spots and highlights. But if I touch it after eating something salty I can make dark areas for details.

    I am always looking for elements like this, but FL is full of jewelry makers and people who get rid of their “stuff” before they retire here. I need to make more trips home to Charleston, SC to get better elements.

  49. you have inspired me!!! I have a some brass pieces that I have acquired over the years but have not taken the plunge in creating jewelry artworks with them – never quite figured out what to do….but will definitely try harder now!

  50. A very inspiring article. I have gotten away from metal smithing because of the price of silver. I have been researching different metals and techniques and I am truly ready to get back in business! Thank you Tammy!

  51. This is a very inspiring article! I have gotten away from metal smithing lately because of the price of silver. I am in the process of researching various metals and ideas and I am truly ready to get back in business! Thank you Tammy!

  52. We use a brass-based material in our jewelry line based on ancient Anatolian jewelry. It is pretty easy to work with as it is more brass than anything else. It is very cool to see brass used in jewelry as it also has a fantastic patina! 🙂

  53. I’ve been making jewely for quite a while, but am just venturing into working more with metals. I would LOVE to have a selection of Nunn Design components to work with. Thank you.

  54. I’ve started playing with brass too. I managed to find a lot of brass sheet so have lots to play with. Would like some Nunn Design pieces to throw into the mix. In short, pick me!!!

  55. I have been a huge fan of nunn designs for 2 yrs and love working with her products. I have entered every giveaway contest featuring them and haven’t won yet, but I won’t give up until I do! I hope this time will do it.
    gina O

  56. I love working with Brass! It’s my favorite metal to use. Although I have never used anything from Nunn designs, I would love the opportunity to play with their brass designs. My favorite with brass is adding patinas! I just love how it never looks the same! You can do two of the same pieces and they still come out looking different.

  57. I’ve made a few pieces from copper sheet but not yet from brass. Even though I have a piece of brass sheet, I have not yet had the nerve to start working with it. I love working with the copper, so I need to get my courage up and go ahead and get some work done with the brass!

  58. i love the array of brass pieces that are offered by Nunn. they always have the most unusual pieces around. Numm also carries the pieces i like to use with DeCore.

  59. I would love to win this… I just started my adventure with using alternative metals so this would be an exciting prize to win. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  60. In the past 8 months, I’ve added a glass kiln to my equipment and experimented with dichroic glass pendants. At this time, I’ve accumulated quite a pile of pendants and have begun adding other elements, like brass components and copper wire, to make the glass even more interesting. Dappling tools and surface finishes and mixed media crafting has opened up an entire new way to use my stash. Life is good!

  61. I haven’t used any brass, but I like the look of that torched brass-that sounds like something I’d like to try. I haven’t ever tried enamels, either – that would be interesting to try, if I can do it with a simple torch.

  62. I’m a newbie to jewelry making and brass is a metal i like as well as copper. I love the victorian and steampunk styles. I have made rings with brass wire and they look really elegant.

  63. Great ideas for using brass and alternative metals. Have used copper since becoming interested in working with metals and just recently purchased some brass and silver to make some mixed metal pieces. Have not yet used a torch on the brass, but love the result on the brass heat patina shown above. Absolutely gorgeous! It is exactly that mystery of metals that has captivated me from the start; the wonder and capriciousness of metal as it taunts and seduces you as you apply heat or enamel, or simply add texture. My torch will be fired up tomorrow as I explore brass! Thanks Tammy for all your articles, you are an inspiration. Thanks Nunn Designs for your tantalizing offer!

  64. A very interesting and inspiring article. Thank you Tammy. I have always been a “silver person” but am now looking at brass and copper due to $ and customers leaning more towards gold coloured pieces. Up til now I have been a bit hesitant as I am unsure of how to use brass and how the metal behaves. I find your article very encouraging and am now ready to give it a go 🙂

  65. Brass has always been one of my favorite metals. Besides its warmth, it is affordable enough that I am not afraid to experiment and ruin anything expensive. Nunn’s designs and products are marvelous! Thanks for the chance to win these beauties!

  66. I love playing with different materials, different textures, to come up with unique pieces. I would love to get some of these gorgeous pieces from Nunn Designs….who knows what i might come up with next!?!

  67. I can’t wait. Hope I win. This is an amazing opportunity. Thank you for providing it. I love brass and copper. Always have. Even when it wasn’t popular. Nunn’s products are awesome! ceafranz @ (remove spaces.

  68. Love, love,love all the new Nunn brass components – I have always been a “gold” type girl, but just can’t afford it to design with and these new brass components are gorgeous!
    Do enjoy reading your daily blog, Tammy – keep up the excellent work!

  69. I have been experiementing with brass, copper, and other found objects to use in my jewelry making. I love all the small embellishments available now. Also love to make things look vintage.

  70. I love brass, it’s so versatile and you can make millions of different looks with it. It’s a standard in my designs and Nunn is at the top of my supplier list!

  71. I’ve been interested in brass since I bought an antique flapper necklace (1920’s) made from brass some years ago. It has never tarnished and is so beautiful.

  72. I was never a fan of brass until I started making jewelry! It has become one of my favorite metals! I love to pair brass filigree findings with bright blues to bring an interesting contrast to my designs.

  73. I have so wanted to try this but I am unable to find any brass findings I like locally and get so overwhelmed when looking at pieces on line. It would be so fantastic to have someone choose them out for me!!

  74. Brass works brilliantly with sterling silver to give an antique feeling or a very crisp contemporary look. I love combining metals. Brass is the perfect material.

  75. In the last year I’ve began incorporating much more brass and copper into my jewelry. Not only for the beauty of these metals, but the cost of precious ones are becoming too expensive to buy very often. I’ve very much enjoyed the tips and knowledge I’ve gained from this site, and appreciate this opportunity.

  76. For more years than I can count, I have always been attracted to brass and have many knick knacks and candle sticks that I think really warm up my home. I only started making jewelry in the last year, but I am grateful that there are companies like Nunn who provide us with so many lovely choices in stampings, charms, and findings, which makes it affordable to make fine jewelry to sell. Almost all of my pieces include brass because I really like the way it looks and how it brings out the skin tones so beautifully in most people. It also has such a lovely old world feel about it. It helps to inspire me, and I appreciate that. Paula Milantoni – (Michigan)

  77. I haven’t tried brass. I’m a silver girl, too, or darker metal. Now that I see how brass can be used to change it’s, well, brassiness, I think I’ll need to explore it.

  78. I have been using brass, sheet, charms, findings, chain and all for years and it makes a wonderful alternative to gold and silver. It is lovely enameled, with patina and just polished and then natural patina can take over and make it more beautiful. I would really love to win the collection as I am a big fan of Nunn designs.

  79. copper and brass are my go to metals, love the contras, and the hand forged arts and crafts look i can get. my silver box is going to tarnish,as I keep finding new things i can do with brass

  80. I like the feel of brass vs gold. Brass just feels warmer to me somehow. It doesn’t hurt that brass is cheaper, too. I love that I can find things in brass vs just some unknown base metal with a thin veneer of plating that may or may not be the metal you really want.

  81. I have never tried brass but would love to try the heated patina method to add to my jewelry making. I usually use raw stone but can picture a dangling piece of crystal hanging from the center of the example.

  82. Tammy, Love the blog and the projects are always my style and the info is so great! Brass with the enameling is very pretty and I would love to try it out on the giveaway from Nunn.

  83. I have loved working with brass for a long time and have always thought that it was an under recognised and under utlised metal in jewellery. I love how it patinas with age (similar to the patina of sterling silver as it ages) or it can be artificially aged or coloured. Torch firing enamels onto brass is something that I would like to try and have never used any of the products from Nunn designs so it would be great to win and experiment!

  84. Brass has always been my practice metal, but for the past year, I find I use it much more, especially now that I am adding in torch enameling to my pieces. Just love the look of the heated brass pieces.

  85. Love Nunn products! Saved enough money
    To buy a butane torch for myself for Christmas
    So it would be a dream to win! One because its
    a great prize, and two I enter, and enter and never
    Win it would rock to start off 2013 winning ! Lol

  86. I used to only use sterling silver, but lately I have really enjoyed playing with many different metals and finishes, and customers are more receptive to different metals. This collection would be a lot of fun!

  87. Brass is my go to metal – It is sturdy, doesnt react with your skin badly, which copper does and it can be either shined up or antiqued or just dulled depending on the look we want. Its really versatile and you find a huge variety even in commercial findings

  88. I’m very new to jewelry making and barely know what I’m doing. And for some reason brass pieces had become apart of my new obsession right from the beginning. Although I never know what I’ll do with them at first, I can’t help but keep collecting pieces every chance I get. The possibilities are endless, so much fun!

  89. Tammy, you always have such great tips and ideas, i always love opening your newsletter. Nunn Design has, yet again, come up with wonderfully yummy new goodies to call to me. Thanks for the chance to win! I’ve started up again with metals in the last few years after a long time away from them. I was lucky enough to take jewelry classes with Lois Hill in high school!

  90. Brass is actualy special to me because many years ago my husband gave me a wire-wrapped stone on a silk cord. This was before we were dating and I still have it. He brought me to trying things out with metal I would never have dared to dream I could do. Brass is perfect for things you are not sure will work out but just strong enough to endure if you have made something special.

  91. I am just learning about enameling and how great brass and copper work!!! Would love to try the items from Nunn!!! Thanks for the opportunity to win a sampling!

  92. Hmm. This article is very interesting, especially about painting the metal and firing it with a torch.. Am a newbie, but have tried some brass. Would like to win this great prize. Have been a decorative painter for years, but the wire and beads kept calling me.

  93. I have always loved brass. Growing up in England, I used to go with my big sister to old churches where she did brass rubbings for school. The metal always fascinated me and I love the colour of it to this day! I love Nunn designs too.

  94. I love how much vintage-y goodness you can get with copper and brass – and I’ve barely even tried half of the things I have ideas for. 🙂 Love this site and all the inspiration. 🙂

  95. With the current cost of gold going too high for a newby to practice with and silver rihgt up there with it, thank goodness for a practically priced metal like brass. Otherwise this is one newby that would have to give up on learning soldering and those jewelry making techniques!

  96. I make a small line of 1 of a kind jewelry for 4 art galleries,around a famous theme park here in Orlando who have been reluctant to carry anything but silver and gold (vermeil). I recently started forcing copper & brass pieces down their throats and much too their surprise they sell well. People are becoming much more sophisticated in their tastes-looking for the unusual, and brass and other metals offer an affordable way for me to be inventive. I love the person who wrote they use Goodwill knick knacks-that’s a fav of mine too!

  97. I haven’t used a lot of brass to date – I don’t have a local bead or craft store so I’ve been sticking with things that I know I love (like silver). But your mention of enameling brass has really piqued my interest and I’m definitely going to have to give that a try – can’t wait!

  98. I’ve only used copper and silver so far, but brass is on my to-experiment-with list. I don’t wear gold, but there’s something about brass that is very classy to me.

  99. Coming from the field of Invasitve Surgical Equipment where I was able to do reverse engineering, jewelery making seemed to happen naturally. I come from several generations of different aspects in art…I would love to get my hands on this impressive bundle…it’s like getting a box of chocolates…mmm…delicious

  100. I have been incorporating more metal components in my jewelry making. I found that the combinations are pretty endless, and I love the look! I have begun using brass recently too, as I was pretty much a silver person before. I love the gold look and the components make it easy, and fun.

  101. I love working with brass! Adding brass to collage like jewlery adds a bit of the past and a vintage look. I can’t wait to try the potato chip patina – who would have thought it!

  102. I’ve always loved the color of gold jewelry and it is my preferred color to wear. Unfortunately, since I am not independently wealthy, I can no longer afford to buy the real stuff. Fortunately, there is a nice alternative in brass. It’s been variously called Merlin’s gold, jeweler’s bronze, red brass or rich low brass. It has a higher copper content than regular brass, giving it a color very close to 14k gold. It’s nice to work with, looks like the real thing, and you don’t have to mortgage your life to buy it. And as Tammy said, it’s fun to heat patina. Nice to see it making a comeback.

  103. I too am a silver lover and the higher prices over the years have forced me to look into alternative metals. I’ve always been a fan of copper, but brass was a bit harder for me to get used to using. I love Kerry’s book and the ways you can get it to patina – it’s very cool. I have yet to solder or enamel it, though. Nunn Design’s products as well as a few others in the industry have helped to bring new life to brass and I’m eager to try a few new things this year with it and will be using more of it in my designs I’m sure!

  104. I am fairly new at using brass and metal pieces in my jewelry making but I love making jrwelry and would love to incorporate more metal pieces into my jewelry. I would be absolutely delighted to win this giveaway and work with the lovely designs from Nunn Design. Thank you for this opportunity to win their products.

  105. Brass has been one of my favorite metals for jewelry because of the extra stiffness it has compared to copper. And once you run red brass through a tumbler it really looks like gold but at a more affordable price for clients to keep adding new pieces

  106. I love brass, just as you said in the article,it can pass for gold and not as expensive. it is also very adaptable to just about any fiber, fabric, bead color or metal you want to add to it. It is also easy to bend, twist and implant those dream designs onto. There ar so many beautiful brass components and with gilder’s paste or patina or even plating, you have a universe of possibilities just waiting for your imagination.

  107. Great – Informative article and what a wonderful giveaway – Nunn Designs are awesome! I mostly work with brass in my designs, mostly brass filigree, more recently adding brass adornments. Painting the brass with Swellegant and using other materials such as patinas can really change the brass design. The Nunn Design pieces would be a great way to start off the new year. Thanks for the article.

  108. I have been using silver colored & copper for quite a while, but I’m starting to get into brass more. I love the trend of using mixed metals, it fits my style.

  109. I use brass with the polymer clay jewelry I make both because it resembles gold and because it’s affordable, but it never occurred to me to try to use it in any color but its usual warm goldish color. Thanks for the idea about patinas! My mind is suddenly swimming with ideas, and it’s looking like I’m gonna be having a busy week. I’m off to research patinas!

  110. I have sterling, silver plate, copper and brass materials on my work bench. THe first riveted piece I made was putting sterling, copper and brass together in the best pendant ever made!! Am experimenting right now with multiple wires in viking knit…brass being one of them…can’t wait to see how it draws to a finish. May be a bigt mess, but how do we know until we try? Go Nunn!

  111. I was working alot with silver but that makes things more expensive for customers and then found Nunn Design products and fell in love.What beautiful things can be made. I would love to win .

  112. I was working alot with silver but that makes things more expensive for customers and then found Nunn Design products and fell in love.What beautiful things can be made. I would love to win .

  113. I started out doing Kumihimo beading several months ago and being a adventurous lady am trying to broaden my jewelry making and designing by trying different mediums as I do in my art, i.e. watercolor, oil, colored pencil, acrylics. I have fallen in love with metalworking and all of the different looks that can be achieved through this.

  114. Using alternative metals is the only way I can experiment at all. It’s so much less expensive if you can use stuff from a hardware store. Thanks for a great article!

  115. I’ve been eagerly watching all the techniques and hints about working with metal, so this would be a great opportunity to get me started. Thanks so much to Beading Daily and Nunn Designs for a great giveaway!

  116. Well, before seeing your post, I would have said, no, I wasn’t too fond of brass. I really like the patina-ed brass a lot, though, so you’ve changed y mind.

  117. Brass has a warmth that other metals do not. My first piece of soldered earring I made with brass. It was so easy, and it took my fears about the torch away!

  118. I have used Nunn products for a long time, love them. Now another reason to buy a micro torch that I have been eyeing for a while. I also love mirkaba’s idea. Will have to check out Goodwill again. Thanks all.

  119. I love Nunn design! I haven’t used their brass pieces yet, and would love to play with some. Thanks for the chance to win some of their beautiful components.

  120. What a fun project. I love brass. I don’t believe I have ever had a real preference for what metal to use, except that it look great.

    I never thought to patina with potato chips! Thanks for the article!

  121. Working with brass again, alright I used brass in the past, when it was hard to find thank you Nunn for bringing it out w/ lovely designs I can’t wait to try it..

  122. I have been using brass in my classroom for years. It’s a great metal for beginners and masters! Thanks for the into to Nunn Designs. I was not aware of this company and will have to check them out!

  123. I love brass and have been using it in my classroom for years. It’s great for beginners and well seasoned metalsmiths. Thanks for the into to Nunn designs. I will definitely check them out.

  124. I love the look of brass and Nunn Design has the most scrumptious pieces I have ever seen. I have started a jewelry business to supplement my fixed income, and have to ask for the money to buy the brass goodies up front. The ladies at Church are very understanding and do not mind paying in advance for these beautiful pieces. thank you so much for this chance to win all these beautiful brass pieces.

  125. I always incorporate brass into every one of my designs. I just love it. I can’t wait to try the potato chip patina! It would be wonderful to win this giveaway.

  126. I always incorporate brass into every one of my designs. I just love it. I can’t wait to try the potato chip patina! It would be wonderful to win this giveaway.

  127. I just found this site. Very very interesting. I’m new to metalworking but I love it and working with wire too. It would be so cool to win this giveaway!

  128. I love brass pieces as an alternative to silver and gold. Thank you Nunn Design for the chance to win these beautiful pieces. I have started my own jewelry business to supplement my fixed income. I have to ask for the cost of the brass pieces in advance as I do not have the money to buy the pieces , luckily the ladies at Church understand.

  129. I have really come to love brass in my jewelry making, both for beading and metalsmithing. It is strong, but not difficult to work with. It can be patinated, though the effect is more subtle (which I actually like). Brass has heft and strength while still being quite workable and forgiving, and it has a lovely golden color without the high price of gold jewelry. Brass is a blast!

  130. Fantastic article! I am SO loving metal. I haven’t done nearly as much with as I would like because I can’t afford many charms – but articles like this help me remember there are tons of cheap/free ideas to treat the metal. I had forgotten the potato chip bag method…YAY!

    Thank you for an amazing giveaway – and a terrific article. I so wish you were my next door neighbor! lol I think 2013 is the of metal for me!

  131. I use quite a bit of brass. There’s no way I can afford gold, and brass comes in so many different lovely finishes. My favorite is antique brass. It has that dark, rich tarnish to it and it really complements some of my rich colored stones when I’m wire wrapping bezels, or some other wire wrap design. You can purchase regular brass that has the appearance of gold, and you can purchase it nickel free as well; so important if you have a nickel allergy!

  132. I too have gone to other metals because of the cost of sterling, but to my delight as you said brass is a good sub. for gold but the best part because is more economical you can try many different techniques with it than I would ever try with gold filled.I can only hope I win , but whom ever wins ,have lots of fun with your stash.

  133. I’ve recently started working with copper and brass is the next logical step, especially after reading today’s Beading Daily Blog. Looking forward to winning:)

  134. I’ve always tended to use silver (or silver coloured) components for jewellery-making, as some gold-plated things discolour quickly and make the finished piece look cheap. But these brass components look lovely – and I like the idea of using household items for patinas.

  135. My favorite style of jewelry to make is mixed media – these pieces would be great to incorporate into jewelry pieces. I didn’t know you could patina brass with heat like copper. Can’t wait to try it – thanks for sharing and the instructions!

  136. I was a big fan of silver and started using brass a copper here and there, a couple of years ago. I now use brass and copper components and chains more than silver. I haven’t tried any of the Nunn Design products yet, but would love too!

  137. I pretty much use brass and copper only. I cant afford the prices for the “finer” metals but have had no problems with these metals at all. Brass and copper give me beautiful results that my customers love so why use the more expensive metals anyway. please enter me in the giveaway.

  138. I love brass in all its forms. It’s versatility is amazing – there is so much you can do with it! And I am thrilled to discover Barbara Lewis’s Painting with Fire Studio. I can’t wait to get started. Yippee!

  139. Like a lot of the readers, I have switched to brass….and for me I design almost entirely around brass and copper. I do a lot with antiqued finishes but love it all! Thanks for the contest!

  140. I love brass for all the reason you mentioned! Just starting to play with enamels and appreciate I am not the only one that have melted a few “mystery” metals in the process. Thanks for your article!

    Fighting my urge to do my donkey impression from Shriek “Pick me, pick me”!


  141. I have made many things from brass, it is one of my favorite metals to use. it is so easy to manipulate and patina with heat. I love the different affects that can be achived with it.

  142. I love to work with brass and have for many years, it can be manipulated and patinaed in so many different ways. it has been a favorite metal of mine for a long time. I am glad that others are also using it. It is so much fun to play with.

  143. Thanks for the great article and exciting giveaway opportunity. I’ve had success using alcohol inks on brass and have found that nail polish works great on brass, too. Sand it a little with fine grit sandpaper first and then paint on a light coat. Very pretty when using sheer colors to let the brass shine through.

  144. Thanks for your great tips! I really like using brass (as well as copper & silver) and the tip about using nail polish on one of the comments above has sent me off in another direction for a while!

  145. Just learning the beauty of this amazing metal from Dear Artist Friends. Almost finished completing my first fold forming project =). So thankful for this sight <3

  146. I’ve been learning jewelry design at home; trial and error mostly, but your magazine’s guidance has been a life and mind saver. Thanks for introducing me to all the wonders of this amazing craft. After reading this article, brass and its possibilities for my designs has really caught my attention.

    Thank you!

  147. Thank you, both for the ideas and for the giveaway!
    I would love to expand into the yellow, from the silvery, and also use more affordable materials, but most of all – try something new! That’s the best!
    (vs2 (at) dax (dot) nu)

  148. I’ve really come to appreciate brass. It’s inexpensive so I’m able to play and try new things without worrying about the cost.

    I love trying new things and making jewelry but I want them to look amazing! Some of the base metal components you see are tacky looking. I’m glad to see these findings. They look amazing!

  149. I love brass, use it a lot in jewelry. I’m just beginning to play with patinas and other colorants on brass–very cool results. Would love to win this giveaway.

  150. Ive been beading for a while (about 2 years off n on) now, but not much experience with metals. After reading this, I think I might be ready to delve into this craft and see how I can incorporate it into my beading and jewelry making skills. (Which are not many–still a novice in my opinion) 🙂

    Thank You!!

  151. Ive been beading for a while (about 2 years off n on) now, but not much experience with metals. After reading this, I think I might be ready to delve into this craft and see how I can incorporate it into my beading and jewelry making skills. (Which are not many–still a novice in my opinion) 🙂

    Thank You!!

  152. Ive been beading for a while (about 2 years off n on) now, but not much experience with metals. After reading this, I think I might be ready to delve into this craft and see how I can incorporate it into my beading and jewelry making skills. (Which are not many–still a novice in my opinion) 🙂

    Thank You!!

  153. Brass is one of my favorite metals to use! I do alot of Victorian pieces and this collection would be a wonderful addition to my growing number of brass and other metal pieces!!

  154. It’s surprising how many different colors of beads, patinas and mixed media items work so well with bronze. My best selling necklaces last year were the ones with bronze chain and findings! Try mixing bronze with flourite and amethyst. Simply gorgeous! I would love to win the Nunn Design package as their products are wonderful to work with!

  155. i haven’t done much with brass yet, but i’ve been collecting components, and have a couple of ideas. i’d love to have the assortment from Nunn to play with, and finally complete a few designs. the pieces are lovely, and truly inspirational.

  156. I have just began to get into metal stamping! I am working A LOT with copper and brass due to a tight budget, but they are also a beautiful combo!!! Definitely going to be trying out those homemade patinas this weekend!

  157. I have used some brass in the past but seem to reach for copper more. This article has helped steer me more towards reaching for brass. Going to give a go with powder coating vs. enameling and see what happens!

  158. Although I primarily work with seed beads I love metal beads and charms and am slowly introducing myself to metal and wire work. “Slowly” includes affordability so I’m always looking for options. I thoroughly enjoy learning through your experimentation, Tammy. Thank you!

  159. Congratulations, abbydale! picked your number, so you win this collection of jewelry-making components from Nunn Design. Look for an email from me.

    Thank you all for participating and for being part of Jewelry Making Daily!

  160. I work primarily in copper and brass, and have recently added some aluminum, acrylic, foils and wire for weaving. It’s fun to explore with alternative materials/metals – makes one think out of the box!

  161. When you mention transparent enamels, are you talking about thinning a standard bottled enamel red paint? Or is there something sold specifically for this?
    Thank you!

  162. Hi Kathy Deck, thanks for writing.

    I’m actually talking about torch-fired enameling, using transparent enamel powders–but you probably could achieve a similar effect with thinned-down paints.

    Thanks for being part of JMD!