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Patina - short version

A surface layer that develops over time (such as verdigris copper) or a surface pattern that develops with frequent use (such as a smooth-worn wooden handle)

Patina - long version

Patina is a film on the surface of bronze or similar metals (produced by oxidation over a long period); a sheen on wooden furniture produced by age, wear, and polishing; or any such acquired change of a surface through age and exposure. On metal, patina is a coating of various chemical compounds such as oxides or carbonates formed on the surface during exposure to the elements (weathering). 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.


Patinas are restricted to exposed surfaces and are fragile (that is, they can flake off). One reason bronze is so highly valued in statuary is that its patina protects or passivates it against further corrosion. This natural patina is solid and seldom shows a tendency to flake. Brass is also resistant to corrosion, but it is, in the long run, not as attractive since local pitting shows against the shiny background.


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