The making and wearing of brass jewellery is as old as antiquity. This metal has a unique appearance. Although it appears like gold, it is an alloy of zinc and copper. The use of brass can be traced to the Neolithic period. Unlike other metals, it is a flexible and soft material, ideal for jewellery making.
History of Brass
The word ‘brass’ has been found in several ancient texts, particularly the Bible. From the 8th to 7th century BC, direct references to brass were found on cuneiform tablets. They were called ‘copper of the mountains’. It wasn’t until the latter part of the millennium BC that the use of brass became widespread. Starting in Spain and then Britain, it spread to India and Iran in the East. Brass exports from the Middle East region reached the coast of the East Mediterranean which led to the widespread production of brass-based military equipment and coins in Rome.
In Europe, brass was also used to pay respect to the departed. Embellished and engraved brass plates were often hammered onto the surface of tombs.
The use of brass was also common with affluent society. It was a common sight to see candlesticks, chandeliers, sundials, navigation and astronomy instruments made from brass.
In India, the use of brass was documented from the 1st century BC. Archaeological findings have unearthed brass coins from the Dhanadeva and Arya Varma of Ayodhya. In the Charak-Samhita text of Ayurveda, brass is regarded as ‘Rit’ along with silver, copper and gold.
Current Use of Brass
Today, brass is seen in a variety of home décor objects such as incense stands, candle holders, engraved plates and lamps. The use of brass can also be seen in belt buckles, pocket watches, figurines and cigarette lighters. Brass products continue to be the leading choice for presenting gifts.
Brass jewellery is also a popular item. With the rising cost and unaffordability of gold, more women are embracing as a replacement for their jewellery. Brass bangles with a matte finish and subtle engravings are often sought after to be worn with Indo-Western outfits. Brass is also used to make kadas, bracelets, anklets, toe rings, braided brass necklaces, earrings, and Meenakari-style jewellery sets. Brass is suitable for all types of apparel, but it best compliments with warm hues like black, maroon and red.
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