Raw Brass = LoveJewelers are calling brass the "new gold". It's solid. It's not plated. It acquires a patina as sterling and silver and gold do. It gets better with age. You can "dip" it in jewelry cleaner which is typically a no-no for plated metals. In a nutshell, it’s natural, unrefined and real. These are various levels of oxidation. In fact, these choices of brass chain are what Anthropologie/Urban Outfitters/Terrain are deciding on for a necklace of mine they are using.
And… with the price of gold skyrocketing, combined with the fact that it is absolutely IN style again, (I’ve been waiting patiently since the 80’s) brass is a great alternative to gold. Unfortunately, most brass on the market at this point, is still plated with something over it….assuming consumers prefer the plate to what’s underneath. To me, that’s like plating 14k gold with silver. We love silver, but we aren’t going to plate over perfectly good gold...
I am hoping to see more jewelry finding suppliers offering more raw brass. But thus far, it is difficult to find a wide variety of findings in solid, raw brass.
So if you want to purchase a piece of jewelry or jewelry supplies, that is made of solid brass, there are a few key words to include in your search. Solid, unplated brass is typically referred to as raw brass, or unfinished brass. On occasion, you’ll find it being called “red brass” with the the irony being that red brass is, in fact, not really red at all.
What they mean by red:
Brass is composed of copper and zinc. Depending on how much copper is in the brass, determines how much of a *strawberry* tint it has...but definitely not red. Just as solid gold has varying amounts of copper, you'll often see some pieces having a rosier hue than others.
Also, the more copper content in the brass, the faster it oxidizes.Depending on your designs, that can be a plus.