The Art and Science of Copper. Our favourite material.
At Alice Made This, we have copper at our core. From our copper cufflinks to our copper bracelets for men and women, this raw material has been present in our collections of men’s accessories and women’s jewellery since the very beginning.
The first collection of Alice Made This cufflinks, made using our Aerospace process, sees solid bars of copper turned in a British factory that usually makes aerospace parts and precision components for a whole range of engineering industries. Using skills only accessible to industry professionals, pieces of copper are fine-tuned using CAD systems and accurately turned on an automated lathe from solid metal bars. Complex profiles and details including refined silhouettes, reflective qualities, and countersunk drilling, decorate our copper pieces for a clean and machined finish.
Today, our collection of copper accessories includes a machined, matte and polished selection of products. Our copper cufflinks have satin (machined), polished or matte (barrelled) finishes. Our copper bracelets are tempered, formed and polished by hand from the machined straights. Some of these are then barrelled to give a textured, matte finish inspired and formed by the process of attrition. These options are all present in our men’s cufflinks, shirt studs, lapel pins and bracelets. Copper can also be found in our women’s jewellery collection, used for our women’s Oscar bracelet.
Not only does copper offer warm, rich autumnal tones that work with a broad colour palette, whether you are dressing up or dressing down, but it has remarkable material properties. With high ductility and a resistance to corrosion, copper is malleable and both a thermal and electrical conductor. It is most commonly used in the electronics, engineering, construction and transport industries because it’s so versatile and has over 570 alloys in existence, 350 of which are proven to be antimicrobial. Copper is also one of the few metals that can be found in its pure, native form, explaining why it was used by ancient civilisations.
Copper fascinates us in the studio, with a warm feminine quality in its tone and an industrial, raw and masculine quality in its material characteristics. Copper was the first metal ever to be manipulated by humans and remains a key material to our global society today. To date, we have only used 5% of the world’s resource and mine it at a rate where we have enough to last a further 5 million years. Paired with this, copper is a sustainable material as it is 100% recyclable. Nearly 80% of all the copper we have ever produced is still in use today. Due to this it holds its value retaining 95% of its original value.
Along with the industrial uses for copper which strike a chord with us, there is a more human side to this material. Copper has antimicrobial properties and kills bacteria, viruses and yeasts on contact. Copper kills microbes by interfering with the electrical charge of the organisms' cell membranes. In light of this, Copper is an essential nutrient to all living organisms. We are not suggesting that you suck your cufflink or lick your bracelet, but minerals can be absorbed through the skins as well as being found in foods such as oysters, beef, nuts, cocoa, black pepper, lobster, sunflower seeds, green olives, avocados, and wheat. Believe it or not but Copper deficiency in the human body is as big a health issue as iron deficiency.
With our love of materials and our scientific curiosity we have a bias towards copper as, aside from gold, copper is the only metal in the periodic table that’s colouring isn't naturally silver or grey. It has a rainbow of colours, from mirror polished pink through to orange, brown and opaque green. It is a softer metal which means we need to be ever more precise and delicate when working with it. This only adds value as it requires care and attention in order to manipulate into our simple, engineered and refined objects.
We do not stand alone in our love and respect for copper. Artists and sculptors who have tapped into the qualities and characteristics of copper, creating pioneering work that highlights its unique nature, include Andre Sale, Anish Kapoor, Carl Andre, Dahn Vo, Donald Judd, Max Lamb and Walead Beshty.
Along with brass and steel, copper will remain one of our core, founding materials, offering an earthy refinement with evolving textures and finishes to our growing collections. Follow us and sign up to our newsletter to be the first to see how we work with this fascinating metal in the future.