The prices of gold and silver continue to rise and fall with the unpredictability of the Hawthorne Bridge at rush hour. In response, local independent accessory designers are ditching the old 14-carat standard to usher in the brass era. Sold in 6-by-12-inch sheets at a manageable $16 a pop (compared to $473 for silver and $20,407 for gold), the composite of copper and zinc appeals to a uniquely Portland aesthetic.

“What began as easy access and affordability turned into a love affair with the tone and versatility of brass,” says Emily Bixler, designer for local jewelry line Boet. “It can take on so many different looks depending on the oxidation level, and it ages so beautifully.”

Bixler’s not alone; at least a dozen Portland lines earn rave reviews with their brassy style—Time Out New York, Every Day with Rachael Ray, and Design Sponge have all gabbed about our shining talent. We asked eight of our city’s biggest metalheads to share their allure of the alloy, as well as their most popular accessory.

“I love the natural patina that develops with love and wear. And it’s fairly inexpensive, which is great for people who want a special handmade piece of jewelry that’s affordable.” Best Seller: Phenomena necklace, $120 at
This article appeared in the September 2013 issue of Portland Monthly.
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