February 26, 2024

Patina on Copper Explained

Patina on Statue of Liberty

Patina on Statue of Liberty

Since I re-opened my store last spring, I’ve received several questons from customers who are interested in my copper and brass garden decorative accent pieces about patina.  Particularly about some of the larger pieces like this garden weathervane and this large piece of  kinetic art.

Quite honestly, I didn’t know much about it.  I just took it for granted that it was a natural phenomena and that when I’m choosing my own copper garden accents I always like to try to picture them with the patina they will eventually develop over time.

The most famous patina, at least for Americans,  has to be the patina on the Statue of Liberty but there are many other statues across the country and throughout the world that haved patinaed beautifully over time.  The statue of Christoper Columbus in Barcelona, Spain is another famous artwork.

After doing a little research and some nosing around on various webpages,  I found the information I needed but most of it was just TMI (too much information).

Christopher Columbus Statue Barcelona Spain.123rf

Christopher Columbus Statue Barcelona Spain.

The cemical compounds get a little confusing and frankly, I was never very good at science, most of the info was over my head.  The simplist description of what it is and why it forms came from Wikipedia.

Here is the entry from the Wikipedia page:

Patina (/ˈpætɨnə/ or /pəˈtnə/) is a tarnish that forms on the surface of copperbronze and similar metals (produced by oxidation or other chemical processes); stone; a sheen on wooden furniture produced by age, wear, and polishing; or any such acquired change of a surface through age and exposure. Patinas can provide a protective layer to materials that would otherwise be damaged by corrosion or weathering. They may also be aesthetically appealing.

On metal, patina is a coating of various chemical compounds such as oxidescarbonatessulfides, or sulfates formed on the surface during exposure to atmospheric elements (oxygenrainacid raincarbon dioxidesulfur-bearing compounds). Patina also refers to accumulated changes in surface texture and colour that result from normal use of an object such as a coin or a piece of furniture over time.

That is pretty much everything you need to know however you can see the entire entry here if you wish to read all of the details.  They list many other resources as well.

You should expect all of your copper, brass, and other metal garden accents to patina.  In the event that you wish to avoid this, be sure to give your pieces several coats of a good clear poly before exposing them to the elements.  Personally, I prefer the beauty of a natual patina but as I always say, each to their own when it comes to personal tastes both in and out of the garden.



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