Copper is a natural resource, extracted directly from the earth, which has particular health benefits.
1) The red-orange color
Copper is first distinguished from other metals by its recognizable color.
Most metals have a gray tint and are difficult to identify. Only gold, with its yellow color, and copper, with its reddish-orange color, are easily distinguished. A good tip is to compare its reddish color to that of the 1, 2 and 5 cent coins, which are also copper plated.
A doubt may arise in comparison with brass. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. Depending on the amount of zinc and copper used, the color of brass can range from yellow to orange-yellow, brown, gold, yellow-white or even white or gray. If you see shades of orange, yellow or gold, it is brass, not copper.
Choose a neutral light to make your observations, as you may be misled by false reflections. If there is any doubt after careful observation, it is either pure copper or brass with a very high proportion of copper, which overall will have the same properties.
2) The verdigris corrosion
Corrosion is the reaction of a metal in contact with air. It often changes the color of the metal concerned.
Gold, for example, does not fade at all. Silver blackens, iron rusts and reddens, and zinc and aluminum remain gray but tarnish. Copper and brass, on the other hand, turn a greenish hue called verdigris.
This can help to differentiate them. But to make a more accurate observation, it will be necessary to restore their initial color. You can clean them with a special copper product, or soak them in water and lemon juice.
3) The sound produced and the hardness
Other tips for recognizing copper are to look at the noise it makes and to test its strength. Copper is a soft and malleable metal. A bracelet, for example, should be able to bend if it is made of pure copper. If it is not, it is probably an alloy. But of course, this test must be done with care!
Depending on the alloy of which the brass is made, the sound it makes when tapped or scraped will be very different. Brass is harder, so the sound of brass is much clearer. Copper, on the other hand, produces a round and muffled sound. In fact, musical instruments called "brass" are actually made of brass, hence their yellow color!
Finally, if the object is industrially manufactured, it may show a hallmark. It is a kind of small discrete engraving, which can allow you to know officially the metal or metals composing it. You can consult a guide listing the different identification codes of metals. However, copper objects are not always hallmarked.
The benefits of copper
Naturally present in the human body in very small quantities, it is an essential nutrient for the body. It strengthens the immune system, promotes the multiplication of red blood cells, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and soothes pain.
The skin absorbs very small amounts of copper when it is in prolonged contact with copper, for example when wearing a copper bracelet.
Copper's antibacterial properties are also well known: a two-hour contact with a surface containing copper destroys almost all bacteria present. This is why it is increasingly popular in hospitals.
For all these reasons, it is important to know how to recognize copper, to differentiate it from other metals. You will be able to choose your pure copper bracelet with full knowledge of the facts.
The other most common metals are iron, zinc, gold and silver, as well as brass which is an alloy. First test: among these metals, only iron is attracted by a magnet. But if your copper bracelet itself has magnets, this information will not be useful!