May 05 2011 Thursday at 07:13 PM

Anatolian Turkish Copper

The world copper comes from the Latin word "cuprum," which is derived from "Cyprus," anciently renowned for its copper mines. It began to be used as a substitute for stone some 10,000 years ago. Though pure raw copper can be found, copper is normally obtained by smelting or leaching ore.

Copper ore contains minute quantities of gold and silver, and old Turkish copper is characterised by the presence of these two precious metals. Modern copper has had these valuable elements removed during processing before the craftsmen receive the metal in sheet form.

In Turkey, copper is mined in several locations, but particularly in the south eastern part of the country near Ergani and Gaziantep. It is of particular importance to be able to distinguish old copper from new. This is not always easy.

All old copper is handmade, while modern copper is both handcrafted and machine produced. Older copper is usually thicker and heavier. It is said that there are colour differences as well. Older examples have a golden orange patina, while modern copper is more reddish. These colour contrasts are difficult for anovice to detect.