Aluminum, Brass, and Copper: The “ABC” of Metals

The "ABC" of Metals

After dealing with metals for quite awhile now (thanks to my mini business, Metallic Gems & Crafts by MGC), I’m still amazed with the things I’m learning here and there about the stuff! Sometimes, I even think that I could pass as “Magneta” — you know, the female counterpart of X-Men‘s Magneto? Haha! All because I’ve started to fall in “like” with all kinds of metals!!!

So for the benefit of my past, present, and future clients, or for those who are simply interested to know, there are many kinds of metals — there are the BASE ones like brass and copper; the PRECIOUS (and expensive) ones like gold and silver; the REACTIVE ones like aluminum and titanium; and the WHITE ones like pewter and tin. [More information on metals can be found here.]

My ultimate goal is to be a legit alahera (think mikAlahera — there I said it! Mwahahahahaha!), in the sense that I finally add precious metals to my list of products. But while that’s still in the making, I found myself enjoying working with some base and reactive metals. It all started with brass (a base metal) when I attended a jewelry making workshop a few months back. Little did I know that I would also enjoy working with aluminum (a reactive metal) and copper (another base metal).

But before you think that that’s it, you haven’t even heard of gauges (g) yet! In a gist, gauges simply represent how thick the metal is. The lower the gauge, the thicker the metal. Since everything in my mini biz is handmade, handcut, and handstamped by ME, I prefer working with 20g on average. The thickest gauge I’ve worked on is 18g, and that really hurt my hands when I cut it! (But you know, business is business!). The thinnest I’ve worked on is 24g, and I realized that the hole punch pliers I used worked better with that gauge. If it’s a thicker metal, I prefer using a screw down hole punch to put holes on it.

Anywaaay, like I mentioned, I work with the ABCs for now. And here’s why:

Aluminum – I like aluminum because it’s light, it doesn’t tarnish, and it’s a cheaper alternative to silver. My aluminum products are made of 18g to 20g, depending on the type of jewelry.

Brass – It’s the first metal I’ve worked with, and I like that it’s a cheaper alternative to yellow gold. However, just like yellow gold is more expensive than silver, brass is also more expensive than aluminum. Also, it tarnishes — but wipe it with a metal cleaner/polisher, and it’ll look as if it’s new again! My brass products are made of 20g to 24g, depending on the type of jewelry.

Copper – For the rose gold addicts (just like me), copper is our best bet that won’t put a dent on our wallets. BUT that doesn’t mean that it’s cheap. It’s actually the most expensive in my line of products (compared to aluminum and brass), so I only produce it in limited quantities or for pre-order. And just like brass, it tarnishes — but again, nothing a metal cleaner/polisher can’t fix! My (limited) copper products are made of 18g to 24g, depending on the type of jewelry.

From top to bottom: thick aluminum cuff (20g), thin brass cuff (20g), thick copper cuff (18g) - all available and customizable at Metallic Gems & Crafts by MGC

From top to bottom: thick aluminum cuff (20g), thin brass cuff (20g), thick copper cuff (18g) – all available and customizable at Metallic Gems & Crafts by MGC

Now that you know about the types of metals I use, I think it would now be best for you to check out my order form. Wahahahaha! Seriously though, I hope you learned a thing or two about metals, especially the ABCs that I personally use — Aluminum, Brass, and Copper. 🙂

Unleashing the Brass Jeweler in Me

Mika as a Brass Jeweler

A few days ago, I attended my very first (and private) “craft” workshop and created my own crafts in the form of handmade (and handstamped) brass jewelry! This was all made possible thanks to Kim Tiam-Lee of Pulseras by Kim (and our workshop venue, Hey Kessy at UP Town Center). 😀

Mika and Kim (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

Mika and Kim (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

Even though it was my first time to do something like this, I’ve always loved all kinds of jewelry, so it’s no surprise that I enjoyed seeing the blank brass pieces turn into my own masterpieces!!!

From cutting to shaping to handstamping each letter, Kim taught me how to do everything just by using our hands! ❤

My starter kit came with the cute "Jewelry Maker" pouch!

My starter kit came with the cute “Jewelry Maker” pouch!

the materials (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

the materials (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

cutting the brass (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

cutting the brass (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

handstamping each letter (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

handstamping each letter (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

learning how to work my way through these little nasty jump rings! haha (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

learning how to work my way through these little nasty jump rings! haha (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

and voila! (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

and voila! (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

During the two-hour workshop (we extended a little bit after that! haha), I was able to make two necklaces, one ring, and two bracelets (one bangle and one brass on leather).

It may look easy, but I’m telling you that you need to strengthen those hand grips and whatnot in order to cut and shape the brass like a pro! That’s why I really admire Kim. She’s a full-time architect, and yet she’s still also able to run her business ALL on her own — as in she’s the only one who creates all her products! She even doesn’t hesitate to share her blessings and knowledge through her workshops. So kudos to her, really!!! 🙂

(photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

(photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

(photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

(photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

(photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

(photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

Kim encouraged me and said that I can already start my own brass jewelry business after everything she taught me. I really enjoyed the entire process of making brass jewelry, so I’m not dismissing that idea. In the meantime, I’ll practice more by making some FREE brass jewelry for my close friends (lucky y’all!!! haha) and buy my own materials. After that, I’ll let you all know if my creations can finally be made for public consumption. Wahahahaha!

Who knows? I might even make the jump from being a wordsmith to a certified brass-smith, silversmith, even goldsmith?! #bigdreams

I'LL LET YOU KNOW IF MY CREATIONS ARE OKAY FOR THE PUBLIC ALREADY!!! :P (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

I’LL LET YOU KNOW IF MY CREATIONS ARE OKAY FOR THE PUBLIC ALREADY!!! 😛 (photo courtesy of the Pulseras by Kim Facebook page)

Well, as Nelson Mandela once said, “it always seems impossible until it’s done.” And since I’ve already tried doing it (as in the brass jewelry making), it’s up to me to follow through and see where all this passion project goes. Wish me luck!!! 😉

Indeed. #WordyandWorthy

Indeed. #WordyandWorthy