Ankhs and Orbs

(c) Vin Callcut 2002-2016. Small extracts can be used with acknowledgements to '' website.

Helpful comments are very welcome.


Some variations on the Egyptian symbol for eternal life that was adopted by the Greek philosophers to represent copper. 

Oldest Profession is Metallurgy

In his presidential address to The Institute of Metals some years ago, Dr Eric Duckworth referred to Greek mythology.  He reminded us that Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, first appeared rising out of the sea off the Island of Cyprus.  As she rose, she was holding a shiny copper mirror and admiring her image.  Obviously the mirror had been made by metallurgists before she appeared.   Therefore, he mused, metallurgy must be the oldest of the professions.

The Ankh


(Rotating Ankh by Andy Callcut)

The ankh has been used for centuries to represent copper. It was one of the few metals then known to the Greeks who chose to associate each metal with a planet. The range was:

greek symbols



1 - gold (sun)

2- silver (moon)

3 - lead (Saturn)

4 - tin (Jupiter)

5 - iron (Mars)

6 - mercury (Mercury)

7 - Copper (Venus)

IoM tieFor many years it was the prividge of elected members of The Institution of Metallurgists to wear a tie bearing the symbols for copper and iron. As the other biological uses of the symbols for female and male genders became more common there was the possibility of confusion. The use of the symbols has therefore been quietly reduced. Some of the examples reproduced below have been judged to be now no longer needed.

benham orb


 Benham & Froude  

Their trade mark orb logo was inspired by the orb that they had made for the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral, London which could be seen from their workshops.  It also looks like an inverted ankh so is doubly suitable.




Roycroft, USA  





vivian westwood

Vivienne Westwood, mark on brass cufflinks.






Grilby Metallfabrik, Grilby, Sweden.










Procobre, Peru.


polisk ankh


Pin badge from the Polish Copper Centre.






Rhodesian coppersmith (now Zambia)




key ring

Brass key ring in the shape of an ankh and copper key tag lettered with Cu+ sign for the anti-microbial properties of copper by Copper Development Association, UK.

cda tie

Tie logo also by Copper Development Association, UK.



se asia copper


Copper Development Centre for South East Asia.


japananese ankh


Japanese Copper Centre.






Indian Copper Development Centre.





A different logo used by CDA Inc, USA.





Copper Development Centres have been set up in many countires with funding from local and international sources.

Those in Europe (correct 2015) are:


European Copper Institute
Avenue de Tervueren 168 b10
B-1150 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0)2 777 70 70 


Copper Benelux
Tervurenlaan 168
Brussels 1150
Tel:  +32 (2) 777 7090
Fax: +32 (2) 777 7079



Olivier Tissot
Centre d'Information du Cuivre - Laitons et Alliages
17 Rue Hamelin
75016 Paris
Tel:  +33 (1) 4225 2567
Fax: +33 (1) 4953 0382


Dr. Anton Klassert
Deutsches Kupferinstitut Berufsverband e.V.
Am Bonneshof
540474 Dusseldorf
Tel:   +49 (211) 4796-313
Fax:  +49  (211) 4796 310



Nikolaos Vergopoulos
Hellenic Copper Development Institute
252 Piraeus Str
177 78 Tavros
Tel:  +30 (210) 4898 296
Fax: +30 (210) 4898 311 


Robert Pinter
Hungarian Copper Promotion Centre
1053 Budapest
Kepiro u. 9
Tel:  +36 (1) 266 4810
Fax: +36 (1) 266 4804


Vincenzo Loconsolo
Istituto Italiano del Rame
Via dei Missaglia 97 Building A1
20142 Milano
Tel:  +39 (2) 8930 1330
Fax: +39 (2) 8930 1513


Michael Ramczykowski 
Polskie Centrum Promocji Miedzi Spolka z o o
ul. Sw. Mikolaja 8-11 
50-125 Wroclaw 
Tel:  +48 71 781 2502 
Fax: +48 71 781 2504 


Pia Voutilainen
Scandinavian Copper Development Association
Vaisalantie 2
02130 Espoo
Tel:  +358 40 59 00 494 
Fax: +358 9 412 3022 


Diego García Carvajal
Centro Espanol de Informacion del Cobre
Calle Princesa 79 - 1 izda 
28008 Madrid 
Tel:  +34 91 5448 451
Fax: +34 91 5448 884 

United Kingdom

Angela Vessey
Copper Development Association
5 Grovelands Business Centre
Boundary Way
Hemel Hempstead HP2 7TE
United Kingdom
Tel:  +44 1442 275 705 
Fax: +44 1442 275 716