A lot of people use copper for a variety of different things. From copper artwork to copper nails and copper cables, it is a staple metal in our lives. Copper is also incredibly valuable nowadays and this has opened up the market for a lot of fake copper as well. So how can you tell whether a piece of copper you hold is really copper and not an alloy or, even worse, a piece of plastic?
First of all, copper is reddish brown. If it is an alloy, such as brass, the color will be a lot more yellow. You can usually quite easily spot whether the material is actually brass. A lot of coins are made from copper, so you could hold one of those next to it to see whether the color matches or not.
A code will not be found on every metal item, although it should. Sterling silver, for instance, should be coded with 925. Brass, if coded, will start with a C followed by three numbers. If you see this, it is not copper. A lot of people have made the mistake of thinking the C means that it is copper, but it actually means that it contains copper and more.
You may have heard that you can tell whether or not something is a diamond by rubbing it on glass: if it cuts it, it is diamond. The same is true to a degree with copper. It won’t cut through glass, but if you rub it vigorously on any other material, it should keep its copper appearance. If the color changes, then it will probably be a pot metal coated in copper.
Get a Magnet
Copper is not magnetic. It is quite common for cooker hoods to be marketed as being copper, but you will find that magnets inevitably stick to them, meaning they aren’t actually copper. While a non-magnetic product doesn’t have to be copper, there is a bigger chance that it is.
Ask the Professionals
Last but not least, if you’re not sure, ask someone who knows. They will have a range of tests that they can use to determine whether or not you are dealing with copper or with an alloy or even a fake. While you may have to pay them for their tests, it will be cheaper than paying a copper price for something that is a completely different product.
Copper in the Home
Usually, if you find copper cables or copper nails, you can be pretty sure that it is actually real. However, with some of the more popular home decorations and home appliances, you will need to check. Items to be particularly weary of include:
- Cooker hoods
- Bathroom and kitchen sinks
- Decorative plates, guns, and vases
- Coat racks
If in doubt, get it checked out. It really is as simple as that. Only copper has the properties that copper is famous for, so getting a fake may cause you quite significant problems as well.