With a history of use that is at least 10,000 years old, copper, with it’s distinctive reddish orange hues, was known to some of the of the oldest civilizations on record. Pure copper lumps were used as currency by the Romans, valued at first for their weight alone, until Julius Caeser introduced shape and stamp as significant. It’s lustrous beauty produced ancient mirrors, and by reflecting beauty became associated with the goddesses of love from both Greek and Roman cultures, Aphrodite and Venus.
Copper is one of the most important components of silver and gold alloys, improving strength and hardness without dulling their shine. In purer form, copper eventually corrodes to acquire the characteristic green patina we see in aged architecture and statuary.
Antibacterial and germicidal, copper has long been used in medical science, perhaps beginning with the Egyptians as long ago as 2400BC. They employed copper as jars to purify water for drinking and sterilizing wounds, curing headaches, healing burns and relieving itching. The holistic medical science of India, Ayurveda, used this highly malleable metal to form surgical instruments and other medical equipment as long ago as 1000BC and Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician, is known to have used copper solutions to dress leg wounds.
The copper ion is an essential trace nutrient to all higher plant and animal life. In all animals it is found in liver, muscle and bone tissue.
Ebony and copper ring from the Nagicia 'Namu' Collection