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As a jewelry designer, there are many, many materials to choose from when creating pieces. Whether you are designing jewelry for yourself, to share with friends and loved ones or to sell, it’s important to come up with unique designs that use eye-catching and durable materials. Brass is a beautiful, warm metal that works well for both modern and vintage-inspired jewelry pieces, and it comes in several different forms.
Brass beads are an especially versatile option. Affordable and easy to work with, they are a popular material among beginners and experienced jewelry makers alike. While metals like gold and silver tend to get all the love, brass is a material that you should definitely consider incorporating into your designs. Keep reading to learn a bit more about working with brass beads.
Brass is a metal that consists primarily of a combination of copper and zinc. It is a highly malleable and ductile metal that jewelry makers of all skill levels enjoy working with. Though there are more than 60 types of brass alloys, the most common ones in jewelry-making are red brass and yellow brass.
Over time, brass takes on a unique patina. For many people, this is one of the most interesting features of this particular metal. The patina creates a stunning antique appearance that is prized by people who love the look of vintage jewelry. For those who prefer a more modern aesthetic, however, taking proper care of brass beads can keep them looking like new.
Whether you love the natural patina of antique brass or you hate it, it’s important to take proper care of your beads and other brass jewelry-making supplies if you want to keep them looking their best. Ideally, they should be stored individually in airtight containers. Brass is sensitive to moisture, so to keep tarnish at bay, do not store your beads in bathrooms, basements or other damp areas.
Consider placing an anti-tarnish strip in with your brass beads. They are tiny strips of highly absorbent material that work by pulling pollutants and moisture from the air and trapping it to prevent it from coming in contact with your brass. The strips are non-toxic, last for several months and will not harm your jewelry-making supplies, so they are an excellent investment.
If you need to clean your beads or completed pieces, natural products are your best bet as they are less likely to cause damage. Scrubbing with soap and water is one of the easiest ways to clean brass. Gently scrub your beads in the direction of the metal’s grain using warm water and dish soap. If necessary, use a soft brush to remove stubborn debris. Rinse with clear water. When you are finished, dry thoroughly using a soft cloth.
Whether you are brand new to the world of jewelry-making or you are an old pro, brass is a beautiful and enjoyable metal to work with. It has a very warm appearance that makes it highly desirable. The natural patina that develops as the metal ages is also very appealing to anyone who loves the look of antique or vintage accessories.
Brass beads come in countless shapes, sizes and styles, and they are versatile enough to use in virtually any project. Do some experimentation and you will find that working with brass beads is a great way to create truly one-of-a-kind pieces that you, your loved ones or your customers will be proud to show off.