Individual copper nuggets from Zimbabwe, choose the piece that you'd like from the dropdown list before proceeding to checkout. The price of our copper is calculated according to weight, prices are calculated at 15 pence per gram and small, medium and large sized pieces are available. Due to the volume that passes through our hands it's not practical for us to photograph each piece individually.
Copper was one of the first metals to have been used by man and can be traced back as far as 10,000 years. It was also the first metal to be smelted which is the process of extracting a metal from an ore by heating and melting. Imported by the Roman Empire from Cyprus, copper was originally called aes cyprium meaning "metal of Cyprus" although the name was later shortened to "cuprum".
Widely used in industry because it resists corrosion from the air, moisture and sea water, copper conducts electricity and heat hence is used in pipes, wiring, heating, cooling applications and cooking pans. It's widely alloyed with other metals including brass which is copper and zinc, bronze which is copper, zinc and tin although other elements are often added and sterling silver which is 7.5% copper 92.5% silver hence the reason for the hallmark 925. Even though copper is used for the purpose of strengthening silver it is in itself quite a soft metal that's both ductile and malleable. After having been shaped or hammered it hardens but after heating softens once again.
Copper is an important trace element that's vital for the health of all living organisms and can be found in a wide range of foods.
As well being a chemical compound copper can also occur as a native element (known as native copper) which means it's not combined with any other element. Most copper is extracted from ores which are rocks that contain important elements and metals in sufficient quantities to make it worthwhile to extract them but they usually only contain a very small amount. The distinctive green coloured mineral malachite is one of the oldest ores of copper.
Prior to 1992 coins in the United Kingdom contained 97% copper which meant the 2p coin contained 6.9 grams of copper and the one pence piece 3.45 grams. As market price increased the amount of copper that was being used had to be reduced. Since 1992 one and two pence coins have been manufactured from steel with only a thin copper plate hence they're now less valuable than they once were.