Information from the Getty AAT
Pure metallic element having the symbol Cu and atomic number 29; a reddish brown, ductile metal that is present in the earth's crust, occurring as a native metal and as ores of sulfide, sulfate and carbonate (azurite, malachite, etc.). It was the first metal used by humans, probably from about 8000 BCE, in the regions of Mesopotamia and India. By about 3800 BCE copper was made into bronze for weapons and knives. Today, copper is one of the most widely used metals because it has high electrical and thermal conductivity, can be easily fabricated, is ductile and polishes well. In moist air, copper forms a protective green film of basic carbonate. Metallic copper combines well with other metals to form alloys, most commonly brass and bronze. Copper and its alloys are used for wire, electrical devices, pipes, cooking vessels, ammunition, ornamental trim, roofing, grillwork, coins, musical instruments, jewelry, and sculptures.