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Brass or Bronze? PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 10 August 2008 20:12

Brass or Bronze?

Modern brass, known as commercial bronze, is typically an alloy of 90% copper and 10% zinc. Some bronze alloys are 88% to 95% copper and may contain up to 12% tin instead of zinc, with phosphorus, manganese, aluminum, or silicon trace additives. Most bronze alloys today employ zinc due to the decline of the tin trade.

Fun fact about bronze: The earliest tin alloy bronzes were discovered in the 4th BCE in Luristan (present day Iran) and in Mesopotamia (Iraq). From Italian bronzo or Persian berenj meaning brass.

bronze die

Vintage bronze tools for jewelry making are shown below. These tools can be used with precious metals, Precious Metal Clay (PMC), Fimo, or polymer clay for making theatre pendants, earrings, and other art objects. Also useful for leather crafts, these tools can be struck with a hammer and used like stamps. Vintage bronze dies are unusual items to add to your vintage tools collection.

bronze die

Bronze is an excellent metal choice for this type of jewelry-making tool because it will not generate sparks when hammers or mallets are struck against its hard surface. This is where the metal qualities of bronze differ from steel. Traditionally in the Middle East and Asia these types of bronze dies are used with designs in matched pairs. The craftsman pours the molten material in between the two dies lining them up using the dots on the outer edges. Aged bronze often contains surface patina having a green appearance which adds to the character of the metal. The bronze dies shown here were mass produced in the mid to late 20th century, from Pakistan and India.

bronze die


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