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About Patina

Patina is a darkening on the surface of metal that occurs over time…the more time, generally the richer the patina. Surprisingly, patina acts as a protective layer, shielding the metal below against exposure.

Patina is prized by collectors and lovers of old jewelry as a testimony to years of loving wear, and to the owners who wore it. Although many manufacturers today try to duplicate patina on new jewelry…it is not the same. Patina is a gift of time…and only the passage of time can create it.

At Tribal Muse we never remove patina, since to remove it would change not only the value, but also the character of a piece. Some of our items have been rub-polished to bring out their luster, without altering the presence of patination.

Unlike tarnish, patina becomes embedded into the underlying metal itself, darkening its color deep down into the molecular layers. To eliminate all of the patina is not only challenging, it limits the attraction of old pieces.

Usually, only a chemical bath can completely remove patina to create a high polish, if at all. Chemical treatments are not good for any jewelry, and are not recommended regardless of age. It can make pieces brittle and susceptible to other forms of discoloration down the road. Although you might find some old high-polish jewelry on our website, the acid-cleaning occurred at the location of origin before arriving at Tribal Muse.

Even though we take our photos in natural window light, patina does not always photograph accurately. Items may appear lighter than they actual are because of their underlying sheen. Please see the guide below to help guide purchasing decisions.

Tribal Muse uses the following patina grades in its item descriptions:
     Mild = Lightly darkened patina, may be rub-polished
     Warm = Moderate patina, with deep darkening of the metal
     Rich = Very dark patina, with heavy darkening of metal