Zamac, copper or steel. What are handbag accessories actually made of? Emezzuhandbaghardware delivers handbag accessories made of different materials.
Sometimes people ask us what a product, such as a snap hook or a bag lock, is made of. In the description of our products you may find terms such as zamac, brass, steel or iron, but did you know why certain materials are used for a product and what the properties are? In this blog we will explain the materials in detail. Good to know while choosing your accessories, but of course, it is also nice to know when you are designing your own bag for example. Knowledge of materials ultimately is an important part of the design process.


The mostly used material for handbag accessories is zamac. This material is less known, maybe it is known to you as Zamak or Pot metal. The name is an acronym: it consists of the first letters of zinc, aluminum, magnesium and copper. Zinc and aluminum are the main components. Zamac is the ideal material for fashion accessories. It is relatively cheap and easy to process because it becomes fluid at a low temperature. It is mostly cast into two molds. Sometimes you can see this by the thin seam in the middle of snap hooks, for example.
Zamac therefore is a mixture (alloy) composed of four materials. The proportions are determined by the final use.

The raw product is coated with a thin layer of copper that serves as adhesion for and protection of the next layer. This next layer consists of nickel to get a smooth and shiny appearance. Sometimes this is the final layer. In case the end product should be gold or copper or must be able to withstand extreme weather influences, another bath of (gold) chrome or copper follows.

One disadvantage of zamac is that, during the casting process, minuscule air bubbles can appear. Especially in small scale production it can happen that these remain visible. This cannot be avoided for 100%, it is a typical property of the material and working process.

As soon as the product is coated with the desired top layer the finishing touch follows, such as polishing and buffing. Clasps, locks etc. have to be assembled manually.

In order to protect the products from outside influences and finger prints, small scratches or damages, manufacturers  choose sometimes for a finishing touch using a thin plastic film. In that way, the product will be best protected.


In non-English speaking countries, bag locks, rings or snap hooks are said to be made of 100% copper, while in reality the item is made of brass. Mostly this is because of a wrong translation of the English word for brass. Real copper is too expensive to use in big scale manufacturing of accessories for the fashion industry. In addition, the material is relatively soft and flexible. That is why the correct name should be Brass.

Brass is an alloy, a mixture of copper and zinc. The higher content of copper makes the brass relatively hard and strong, and makes it resistant to outside influences. It also is a bit heavier, which gives the material a luxurious appearance. This weight might, of course, also be a disadvantage: on a small light weight bag, the snap hook might become too heavy, making the bag collapse. However, a luxurious bag with a brass snap hook will be a magnificent detail.

The price is a big disadvantage, because brass is much more expensive than Zamac because of the percentage of copper.


For example, this type of metal in its thinnest form (tin) is used for pressing eyelets, grommets and rivets, but our doctor's bag handles and Gladstone bag frames are made of steel as well.
There are many differences in the quality of steel and its finishing touch. These differences are not only to be found in the price, but especially in the quality. Think of strength, the way in which the steel is resistant to rust and the quality of the finish layer.

Zamac, copper or steel, we only sell products of good quality.

Are you looking for something specific or do you want to know more about our products? Please contact us, we are happy to help you further.

  Emezzu     14-09-2021 20:49     Comments ( 0 )
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