One of the oldest colorants used by potters. It is a popular source of copper in glazes and glass. It is a very strong flux, in a mix of 50% Ferro borax frit 3134 it will dissolve a firebrick crucible at cone 6! It is the most stable form of oxidized copper (Cuprous oxide oxidizes to cupric oxide in normal firings).
The oxide form of copper can give a speckled color in glazes whereas the carbonate form will give a more uniform effect.
Copper normally produces green colors in amounts to 5% where it moves toward black. In reduction firing, it turns to Cu2O and gives vibrant red hues. It the glaze is fluid copper will tend to crystallize heavily. See CuO and Cu2O in the oxides database for more information.
Above 1025°C copper becomes increasingly volatile and its crystalline structure breaks down. At 1325°C CuO melts. This can affect the color of other glazes pieces in the kiln. Glazes containing copper can change significantly because of loss of copper. Some potters alternate between reduction and oxidation, and even put a dish filled with copper carbonate in the center of the kiln to minimize this phenomenon.
There are many workable copper ores (i.e. tenorite, cuprite). Source: American Chemet Corp., 708-948-0800 FAX 708-948-0811
Information source: Digitalfire.com reference library