A brass item is considered antique if it has attained the age of 100 years or more. However, like the term "burnish," the term "antique" also refers to a finishing process that creates the semblance of age.
"Burnishing" and "antiquing" are synonyms for the same process. The terms are used interchangeably. The term burnish means "to polish" or refers to the shine of an item. This seems contradictory to a process that patinates, creates a patina, rather than creates luster. In this context, burnish refers to its etymological origin. The Anglo-French transitive "burnir" means "to make brown." The terms "antiquing" dates to 1920s America.
Antiquing or burnishing can only be achieved with unlacquered brass. Protective lacquer stymies the chemical reaction that creates the false patina. Brass plate alloyed with steel or zinc can be antiqued, but color will be unpredictable.
One method uses commercial antiquing fluid. Mix one part antiquing fluid to 10 parts water in a nonmetal bowl and apply.
Another effective chemical is ammonia, which creates a verdigris finish.
One cup vinegar to one or two tablespoons of table salt creates a nontoxic solution. Allow brass to sit overnight and by morning a brown or slightly green patina will appear.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Steven Depolo Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Chris Fore Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Faith Goble Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Dominic Alves Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of jenny downing Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Jessica Spengler
What Is the Difference Between Forged and Extruded Brass Fittings?
Brass works can range from inexpensive castings to high-end, hand-hammered, gallery-quality art. Working with brass is a skill that has been honed...
How to Distinguish Copper From Brass
Copper and its alloys have been around for centuries. Brass is an alloy made from copper and zinc, which is why it...
How to Burnish Metal
Burnishing is the process of polishing metal to give it a smooth shiny finish. It is often used on soft metals such...
How to Remove a Lacquer Finish From Brass
Brass knobs, hinges and ornamental fixtures must remain clean and tarnish-free in order to retain aesthetic appeal. Unfortunately, the lacquer applied to...
How to Identify an Antique Brass Candleholder
Antique brass candleholders go back to the 18th century, when brass was poured into a mold in the shape of elaborate candelabras...
How to Turn Shiny Brass to Antique Brass
Shiny brass looks good to some, but others like their brass to have an antique appearance. Brass does not have to be...
How to: Faux Antique Brass Finish
Brass-finished home décor such as lighting, candlesticks or even a brass bed can provide a modern or traditional look. You can change...
How to Burnish Brass
Burnished brass has an antiqued look that some people prefer to a shiny finish. If you have a piece of brass that...
How to Burnish Silver
To bring out the most brilliant level of shine in your silver, you should burnish it. Burnishing is simply the use of...
What Is Burnished Coin?
Coins are available in a variety of grades. Circulated coins are those that are mass-produced and circulated. Uncirculated coins are those produced...
What Does Burnished Mean When Buying a Coin?
A burnished metallic object has the characteristic of being smooth and bright. This effect is created by rubbing or polishing. Coins with...