How To Identify Genuine Bronze?


Bronze is an alloy of tin and copper that was a revolutionary discovery centuries ago. The metal was first used to make art and weapons. Today, there are so many different types of metals and alloys that it can be hard to tell the difference between real bronze and a fake replica unless you examine its physical characteristics. When you check out bronze casting you can begin to acknowledge the difference between real bronze jewelry and replicas. 

Physical Characteristics Of Bronze

Sculptors can obtain a material that has a similar appearance to bronze because it is much cheaper. Other materials might look just like bronze but they are not as strong or durable as bronze. The weight of a bronze sculpture will be much heavier in comparison to a sculpture of the same size as a bronze look alike. Just for reference sake, a foot tall sculpture made of bronze can weigh anywhere between six to ten pounds. 

Another unique characteristic of bronze is as a metal is its pitch. Bronze is often used to make fine-tuned handbells and church bells because of its pitch. Bronze produces a distinct ringing sound when struck with a wooden mallet. This clear sound is often not heard in products replicating a bronze look. 

Bronze does not rust because it does not contain iron. Instead, when bronze comes into contact with water for long periods the surface begins to tarnish. The tarnish forms a protective layer on the surface of the metal which protects all the metal content underneath the surface. This is the reason why sailors, churches, and fire stations have bells made of bronze. 

Passing Iron As Bronze

Some sculptors use iron instead of bronze because it is much cheaper. Another benefit of using iron is that it is much stronger than other materials to match the look of bronze. It becomes much easier to pass off iron as bronze because of its durability. But there is one very clear distinct difference between iron and bronze which makes it very simple to tell the two apart. 

Bronze is not pulled by a magnet and the irony is that magnets are almost always made of iron. Simply hold up a magnet to test a metal to see if it is bronze or not. If the magnet sticks, it is not bronze. That’s right, a magnet does not stick to anything that is made of bronze. 

Recognizing A Bronze Lustre 

An old piece of bronze will have a patina. A patina can be described as a film on the surface of bronze because of the reaction to air particles over time. A patina can not be easily scratched off as is almost always the case in bronze replicas. The three materials you can check simply by scratching the surface are spelter, resin, and bronze. 

Spelter reveals a silvery gray color when its surface is scratched. The resin will have a plastic feel to it and it will easily get scratched. Bronze will expose a yellow, gold, or copper tone when you scratch its surface. 

Final Word

There is no doubt that sometimes it can be very difficult to tell the difference between a genuine bronze piece and a duplicate. If all of these techniques don’t help then there are bronze appraisal services just like there are for gold. They can help you find out if a piece is really made from bronze.


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