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A metallic element of reddish colour, though in its natural state it is often green, as oxidation of the surface forms verdigris. It has been used from early civilizations in making jewelry, both in its pure state and in various alloys, e.g. bronze and brass, and in more recent centuries in ormolu, pinchbeck, nickel silver, and gilding metal, and also to a small extent in Britannia metal, gold alloy, and silver alloy.
From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson