Brass – A Golden Ally

October 05, 2022

Aged, brushed, hammered, sometimes called red gold, gilded copper or Venetian bronze, brass has always been a treasured material. Its ability to capture light, its refinement and its extreme versatility have made it a material of choice in many fields. From ancient Rome to today, from coins to musical instruments, its golden palette has brightened our daily lives.

Prized Since Ancient Rome

Brass has been used since ancient Rome where it was mainly used to make coins. In the Middle Ages, brass was widely spread: for clocks, musical or scientific instruments, in plumbing and locksmithing, in the decorative arts, and even in the manufacture of weapons. It was in the late 18th century that it became the material of choice to imitate gold in luxury goods, architecture and design.

Ancient Roman Coins

Hebrew Astrolabe (1200AD - 1400AD)

18th Century Muffineers

A Malleable, Strong and Versatile Alloy

The most common composition of brass is 66% copper and 34% zinc, but it can vary and include other metals such as lead, tin, nickel, chrome or magnesium. Brass is very popular with craftsmen and designers because of its great workability: it can be worked by hand, even at room temperature. Brass offers electrical and thermal conductivity. When it comes to strength and durability, brass is also an interesting choice. It resists corrosion, does not rust and captures the marks of time beautifully. Today, nearly 90% of all brass alloys are recycled.

Metalworker hand beating multiple brass parts

A Golden Muse

Brass has been a popular material in art and design for centuries. Many contemporary designers appreciate its qualities. Like Isamu Noguchi, the famous Japanese-American artist, who used brass for many of his iconic sculptures, including his 1928 "Globular." Or the famous British interior designer Tom Dixon. Voltra uses brass in all the lamp bases and in the inner shell of the Totem Reeded.

Various sculptures by artist Isamu Noguchi

Beat collection by designer Tom Dixon

Natural Brass Voltra Totem Reeded

Discover Voltra's Natural Brass Lamps

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