Bronze, copper and gemstones
Updated: Jul 25, 2019
As an artisan, I really enjoy working with natural metals such as bronze and copper. They are versatile metals, highly durable and give gemstones a perfect setting. These metals have beautiful patinas (surfaces) which darken or lighten over time. This is because bronze and copper naturally react to the environment such as heat and moisture.
During the Roman era, copper was exceptionally sought after and was mainly mined in Cyprus. The original name of Copper was Cyprium and was referred as Aes Cyprium which literally translates simply as Metal of Cyprus. The word Cyprium was then modified to Cyprum and it is from this that we get the word copper.
It wasn’t just the Romans that appreciated copper. The Ancient Egyptians carried water using carafes made of copper, dating back to 2750 BC. The Ancient Egyptians also had the ankh symbol to represent copper. The ankh is a hieroglyphic symbol meaning eternal life.
Contrary to popular belief, copper is very often added to gold, even gold classified as 24 karat. This is because gold itself is an exceptionally soft metal. Copper is added to gold to enable it to be molded into shape.
Copper is alloyed with tin to make my other favorite metal – bronze. Bronze is a metal that has been used since antiquity and was favored by the Ancient Sumarians. Sumer was the first urban civilization in the historical region of ancient Southern Mesopotamia. It was actually the Ancient Egyptians that were the first recorded nation as utilizing this metal, around 3,500 BC.
Bronze is mostly copper with some tin. This combination of metals makes bronze an alloy. Bronze is a very durable metal and is stronger than copper and tin alone and it should not be confused with brass. Brass is entirely different and consists of copper and zinc.
Back in history (681–704 BC) King Sennacherib of Assyria cast huge statutes of up to 30 tons made from bronze. Whereas in Ancient Greece, bronze statues were the highest form of sculpture in art. It was a very valuable material.
Bronze and copper make the ideal backdrop for my natural gemstones. Since ancient times, gemstones have been prized for their beauty. Often gemstones contain inclusions and in gemology inclusions are the characteristics inside the gemstone. Some gemstones reflect the light, while others are iridescence or translucent. They may contain bands of color and have either a rich or smooth luster. Gemstones in many ancient civilizations, and now in modern times, are considered miraculous and enriched with healing powers.
Gemstones are also linked with yoga meditation and with Ayurveda which is a system of medicine with historical roots in the Indian subcontinent. I can customize any of my gemstone pieces and all of my jewelry arrives with booklets on the history and meaning of your chosen gemstone. Here are a few of my favorites with some information on what they symbolize:
Chalcedony is a variety of Quartz and come in a wide range of beautiful colors including translucent smokey pink. It is a powerful healing stone linked to optimism, joy and receptivity. It has a gentle nurturing energy which promotes self-love. In yoga mediation, and Ayurveda, the gemstone is linked to Heart-Chakra which means it is a stone of inner peace, awareness and emotional stability.
Opalite is composed of Dolomite, Quartz and Fluorite. Colors range from translucent rainbow to semi-transparent soft white. All Opalites have a moon-lit glow when held against the sunshine. This glow has been referred to as ‘moonlight on water’. Opalite is a powerful healing strength-giving stone. It improves communication and removes energy blockages. It is connected to self-esteem and self-worth. In yoga meditation, and Ayurveda, it is linked to Third Eye Chakra, which means it is a stone of insight and intuition.
Lapis Lazuli is composed of the minerals Lazurite, Calcite and Pyrite. It is a powerful healing strength-giving stone. Lapis Lazuli stimulates knowledge. It is linked to friendship and harmony in relationships. It enhances peace and serenity and promotes honour, truth and honesty. In yoga meditation, and Ayurveda, it is linked to the Third Eye and Throat Chakra, which means it is a gemstone of balance and energy.
Aventurine is a variety of Quartz with inclusions of Fuchsite. Aventurine is most usually green and is often referred to as the Stone of Opportunity as it attracts love. Aventurine is a powerful healing and strength-giving gemstone. It is connected to general well-being, optimism, joy and hope. In yoga mediation, and Ayurveda, Aventurine is linked to Heart-Chakra, which means it is a gemstone of inner peace, awareness and emotional stability.
It is easy to love these ancient metals bronze and copper and they easily compliment all manner of natural gemstone settings from vintage Victorian to bohemian. Take a look at my gemstone category and choose a gemstone that is perfect for you.