Will solid copper or brass tarnish?

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Tarnish is a thin layer of corrosion that forms over copper and brass. It often appears as a dull, gray or black film or coating over metal. Tarnish is a surface phenomenon that is self-limiting, unlike rust. Only the top few layers of the metal react, and the layer of tarnish seals and protects the underlying layers from reacting.

Tarnish actually preserves the underlying metal in outdoor use, and in this form is called patina. The formation of patina is necessary in applications such as copper roofing, and outdoor copper, bronze, and brass statues and fittings. Patina is the name given to tarnish on copper based metals.

Our range of solid copper or brass lighting fittings are “raw” or natural and will tarnish over time. Some will have some “tarnish” marks from new, some fingerprints from the makers. All of this will dissapear as they tarnish, developing a natural patina.

Yes you can polish them – but unless they are sealed with a protective lacquer they will tarnish again. We don’t recommend sealing copper or brass fittings with a lacquer as eventually it will break down (particularly outside) and look unsightly. And it will need to be removed before you re-polish.

The beauty of solid copper or brass is the natural patina which develops over time.


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