Copper was the first metal used by our ancestors. It was first discovered and used by Neolithic Man about 9-10,000 years ago. Early copper smiths in Iran found that heating copper softened it and hammering copper made it harder. In this way they could shape copper into various useful items such as containers and utensils. Because of its beautiful colour copper was also made into jewellery and ornaments.
Copper is the most versatile and hence probably the most used of all metals, from conducting heat or electricity, to being used for water pipes. In fact the average home contains more than 90kgs of copper, from electrical wires, to plumbing to electrical appliances. Copper is also one of the most recycled metals with perhaps 70% of the copper now in use having been recycled at least once. Copper is also of course used widely as an alloy, mixed with other metals to form for example Sterling Silver (7.5% Copper, 92.5% Silver), Brass (70% Copper, 30% Zinc) and Bronze (90% Copper, 10% Tin).
As already mentioned, because of its beautiful colour, one of the uses for copper has been as jewellery, and in fact a copper pendant dated at 8700BC was discovered in what is now Northern Iraq. I like to occasionally use copper for jewellery and one of my favourite copper pieces is my Copper Byzantine Waves Chainmaille Bracelet.
Here is some more gorgeous copper jewellery from members of the JET team.