Alternative Metals: Free Guide and Projects for Making Bronze, Brass, and Copper Jewelry

19 Jul 2013

I can't imagine any jewelry maker is happy about the price of silver (and don't get me started on gold being nearly the price of platinum!), but at least one good thing has come of it: Alternative metals like copper, brass, and bronze are getting their chance to shine, and you'll get four free project tutorials using those alternative metals in our newest free eBook, Alternative Metal Jewelry: Free Guide and Projects for Bronze, Brass, and Copper Jewelry.

Alternative or "base metals" have been making their way into the world of jewelry for several years now. Stainless steel rings and other steel jewelry are popular choices for men primarily, possibly because stainless steel jewelry is so durable, but I've recently seen some beautiful stainless steel jewelry for women made by recycling pretty old stainless steel flatware. Smart! Stainless steel jewelry can resemble silver jewelry at a fraction of the cost and doesn't cause the same allergies that some white metals can.

Stainless steel isn't as easy to work with, however, as many other alternative metals gaining popularity in jewelry making, such as bronze, brass, and copper. Brass jewelry is a very close alternative to gold jewelry, and as more jewelry makers add brass to their repertoire, brass wire and brass jewelry findings are becoming more common in the jewelry supply market. Brass is a particular favorite of mine, along with copper, because they are ideal for torch enameling. The patinas I can achieve on copper sheet with just a torch flame or a few household items like salt and vinegar have made me a fan of copper jewelry, plus copper takes texture like a dream and it's very forgiving to work with. The hardware store is a great source for very affordable copper and brass findings for making jewelry, as well. I like seeing what's offered and then finding a way to use it in alternative jewelry making.

My friend Angie is always coming up with clever ways to recycle and upcycle soda cans into aluminum jewelry. She cuts off the top and bottom to have flat aluminum sheets; then she cuts and punches out shapes, fold forms the sheet, or even stamps and embosses designs on the metal. Aluminum sheet recycled from cans is both a great material to practice some metalsmithing forming techniques on as well as a creative and free material with which to make alternative metal jewelry.

"Sometimes called base metals and used primarily for practice, today these easy-to-work and inexpensive materials are also super fashionable jewelry metals that you can have fun wearing anywhere, and can offer to your customers at price points that are bound to sell," says Merle White, Editorial Director of the Interweave Jewelry Group. With our free eBook, Alternative Metal Jewelry: Free Guide and Projects for Bronze, Brass, and Copper Jewelry, "You can make jewelry with many different metals using traditional metalsmithing techniques--no need to limit yourself to the standards!"

And wow, this eBook brings out the Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist jewelry experts like no other eBook has, with these alternative metal jewelry tutorials from Lexi Erickson, Bill Fretz, Helen Driggs, and Tom & Kay Benham:

  • Soldering the Copper Metals: Copper, Brass and Bronze by Lexi Erickson: Did you know it's safe to put copper jewelry and silver jewelry in the same pickle pot together? Learn the dos and don'ts of soldering copper jewelry and other alternative metal jewelry in an in-depth, illustrated tutorial from Lexi Erickson.
  • Copper Chased Pendant by Tom & Kay Benham: Chasing and repoussé are ancient jewelry-making techniques that continue to create beautiful modern jewelry. It's ideal for use in copper jewelry making because of copper's softness, and this tutorial from Tom & Kay Benham is a great introduction to the fun technique.
  • Torus Top Cuff by Bill Fretz: This gorgeous brass bracelet has a secret--the eye-catching circle design on the top doubles as the clasp. Learn to form curvy shapes from flat metal sheet in this tutorial by the king of hammers and stakes, Bill Fretz.
  • Sawn Aluminum and Copper Necklace by Helen I. Driggs: Imagine the pretty little tinkling sound this copper and aluminum necklace must make, thanks to the movement it has through wire cold connections. This low-cost, no-torch alternative metals jewelry project by Helen Driggs is ideal for beginners who want some practice with a jeweler's saw.

Whether you're already a fan of alternative metals or need a little convincing, you'll enjoy all the step-by-step projects in our new alternative metals jewelry-making guide, so download your free copy of Alternative Metal Jewelry: Free Guide and Projects for Bronze, Brass, and Copper Jewelry now!


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