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Brass is the copper alloy with the biggest name recognition. Main parts are copper and zinc, whereas the zinc content is responsible for the typical character of colour. Brass is either brownish-reddish or pale yellow to nearly white-yellow. Furthermore, tin, nickel and lead are the containing metals, which change in their quantity. Brass is harder than pure copper, however, not completely as hard as bronze. The optical qualities similar to gold of the brass made it popular already since about 500 years.

In optics and processing qualities it is used for antique jewellery since the 17th century. Practically every on copper and zinc-based alloy was called brass in the beginning. Later on a distinction of more precision was made, also in so-called tombacs.
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