What to Expect from Copper
Many pieces in the collection are made with copper. Copper is a "living" metal, meaning that it develops a patina and continues to change with wear and use. The finish can range from high-polished bright copper to luscious rich shades of chocolate brown. It slowly reacts with atmospheric oxygen to form a layer of brown-black copper oxide which protects the underlying copper from more extensive corrosion.
Examples of naturally-occurring patina on a copper penny:
Copper was the first metal used by humans. Middle Eastern artisans of the 5th and 6th millennia BC fashioned copper into jewelry, tools, vessels, utensils, and weapons.
Besides being useful as a metal, copper also kills or inhibits the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms. The Smith Papyrus, written sometime between 2600 and 2200 BC, records the use of copper to sterilize chest wounds and drinking water.
Many believe that wearing copper can help reduce inflammation and promote general good health and healing. While making no medical claims about copper, Gretchen generally chooses not to use a protective coating on her copper jewelry so that the wearer can experience copper against the skin. As a result, some natural patination, or coloration, will occur. She also often oxidizes the copper and then buffs it to expose the highlights or relief of a piece.
Most people will notice a greenish residue from places where copper has been exposed to skin. This is most noticeable in rings, but may also occur with necklaces or bracelets. This is not harmful and can be easily washed off at the end of the day. If you wear the same piece regularly, oils from your skin may build up a protective coating on the inside of your copper piece.
If your copper starts looking dull, you can easily restore it by lightly brushing it with very fine steel wool or a soft cloth. Please note that copper will react to an individual's body chemistry differently, so your piece becomes very personal.