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a green and orange patina on a sheet of copper

Patina

Originally contributed by Jeff Butler • last updated 1/21/2021

If you’ve ever stopped and admired the ambiance of a vintage object, you should know that you’re not alone. Nowadays, the so-called patina associated with an aged and worn look, is so popular that professionals and DIYers alike go to great lengths to recreate the appearance.

Definition

Commonly, the word patina refers to the natural beautification of an object’s surface material as a result of age and use, such as worn leather or aged furniture. More traditionally, patina refers to the greenish film that appears on the surface of metals, such as copper and bronze, as a result of age and weathering. In certain cases and styles, patina is often considered to add to the value and desirableness to an object.

Keep or Remove Patina? It’s Complicated

While some people may go out of their way to recreate the look of an aged patina, others may prefer to restore vintage objects to their original condition. However, there are certain objects that could potentially lose incredible historical and monetary value if the patina were to be removed:

  • As the vintage look becomes more popular, authentic objects with natural patina are becoming increasingly more rare and expensive. As a result, there are several professional and DIY methods available to achieve the look of vintage patina on different surface types, including metal, wood, and stone.
  • On the flip side, there are some people who would prefer to restore a vintage object to its original condition by removing the patina. And, of course, there are several methods for cleaning and polishing an object. But, beware that the patina of an older object is sometimes the element that makes it most valuable to a collector.
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