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The Color of Brass

Brass Finishes and how they look

Will the Brass Hardware look the way I envision it?

Brass offers the rare ability to appear in a variety of shades depending upon the makeup of the brass and how the brass is finished.

Please look at the "Product Info" portion of each product page. The material an item is made of and the finish are stated here.

Material designates the composition of the hardware

    • Material: brass means the hardware is made of brass.
    • Material: brass-plated means hardware is made of metal with a brass plated finish.

Finish designates the brass appearance, see below. . 

    • It can be shiny or dull, light, dark or in between. Brass which does-not have a permanent finish will naturally age over time. This process produces a beautiful warm patina. 
    • Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. The exact composition of these metals can vary during the manufacturing process. This variation may cause slight differences in the raw color.

Brass Finishes

The color of brass varies.  Polished brass often looks very similar in appearance, however the look of aged or darkened brass can vary widely. This variation in color makes it tricky when trying to match different pieces of brass.

The following is a description of various finishes:

Antique Brass

Antique brass is finished to look old. It is darkened by applying a chemical agent to the brass.Amount of darkening solution and length of time brass is exposed affect the finished color. As this process is typically done by hand the darkened color can fluctuate. 
We do our best to match brass colors if ordering a variety of items in antique finish.

Polished Brass

Polished brass has a bright, shiny finish. Although glossy, the finish has not been stabilized with lacquer. As brass is a living finish it will darken/age over time. To maintain the shiny finish apply lacquer. Spray lacquer is available at most hardware stores. Follow manufacturer directions when applying. 

Polished & Lacquered Brass

Polished and lacquered brass is shiny brass with a lacquered finish. Lacquer seals the brass to keep it shiny.

Unfinished Brass

Raw - unfinished brass is un-polished and un-sealed. It is brass that is left in it's natural condition after the manufacturing process. As it is raw,  the appearance can vary. It may be bright, dull, tarnished, have small scratches or be covered with a thin film of oil or grease. However, this is often a good as unfinished brass provides great flexibility. It can be polished, darkened or colored. 


Old brass often has a wonderful patina, achieved from years of natural aging. Trying to match a naturally occurring patina is extremely difficult. 

Achieving natural patina:  remove any existing finish and thoroughly clean brass. Once clean, the organic oxidation process can start. Many factors such as light, air and wear will naturally age the brass finish over time. 

Cleaning Brass

Hot soapy water and a soft cloth is the first step in cleaning brass however this may not be sufficient. There are many useful recommendations for cleaning brass which can be viewed on the web.  We recommend testing the method you choose on a small section before proceeding with the entire project. Small scratches can be removed using fine steel wool.

Once clean brass can then be shined with brass polished, stained with a darkening solution or left to naturally age. To maintain finish lacquer may be applied once appropriate finish is achieved. 

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