Quick Way To Tell If Something Is Brass

Brass is a beautiful metal for home decor and home furnishing products. If an item looks brass, it is usually either solid brass or brass plated.

To tell if an item is a solid brass, one of the easiest ways to do this is by first the visual test to ensure it has the golden yellow color like brass. The next noninvasive test is the magnetic test, where the magnet is placed on the object. If the magnet does not stick, it is solid brass; it is probably brass plated if it sticks.

You can also scratch the top finish off with a sharp object, and if it is shiny yellow underneath, it is probably solid brass. If the surface under is white or silver, it is probably brass plated.

Quickest Ways To Tell If Something Is Solid Brass

If you have an object and you are not sure if it is solid brass or even brass at all, there are some very quick things that you can do to test your object to see if it is solid brass or brass plated.

Below are three of the top ways to tell whether or not your object is solid brass or brass plated.

Visual Color Test For Brass

The quickest way to tell if something is brass is by doing a visual color test. It may not be brass if it doesn’t look like the brass color or if it is not a golden yellow color.

Also, if the brass has oxidized and become dark, it can still be solid brass and may need a polish to get the brass down to its original color.

Put Magnet Next To Brass

Another quick and easy test to check to see if it is brass is to put a magnet on top of it the brass. It does not need to be a fancy magnet; you can use a magnet from your refrigerator.

Solid brass is not magnetic. If the magnet sticks to your brass, it is either brass plated or another metal. Solid brass will not stick to any magnet and has no magnetic properties.

If the magnetic does stick to what you thought was a solid brass piece, then steel or cast iron is usually used for the brass plating.

Scratch The Surface Area To See If Solid Brass

Also, scratch the surface area to see what is underneath. If you see a shiny yellow under metal, the item is more than likely a solid brass piece. On the other hand, if you see a silver scratch, your piece is likely metal such as zinc.

Of all three tests, the magnet, and the visual test are the most noninvasive. We would only do the scratch test if it were an object or something you did not worry about if it got damaged. 

Solid Brass Vs. Brass Plated

There are some differences between solid brass and brass plated. Here are some of the significant differences and answers to each material.

What Is Solid Brass?

Since ancient times, the solid brass alloy of copper has been used for its beauty, resilience, and durability. Like any other type of metal, there could be some color variations, especially how much copper and zinc were used in the brass.

One of the great things about brass is that it can be cast, spun, forged, wrought, and even die-cut. Brass has long been the preferred metal for fine furniture and accessories hardware, lighting fixtures, lamps, fireplace equipment, candleholders, and many other decorative accessories.

Solid brass can always be polished down to its original color. Even if someone sprayed it with a lacquer spray, that lacquer spray could be taken off, and the brass can be repolished to the original, color, finish, and not be damaged.

One of the beauties of brass is the many different ways that brass can be finished. Here are some of the significant ways that brass is finished:

  • High Polished – Highly polished is a shiny, almost mirrored-like finish for brass. The high polished brass is a lustrous finish that can be very smooth and shiny. Sometimes it can be so highly polished that you can almost see your reflection in the brass.
  • Satin Finish – Satin finish is a dull, almost flat finish for brass. It is a muted brass with a textured finish that can be almost a golden brown color. Many times this is also called matte brass.
  • Brushed Finish – The brushed finish is as the name implies and would have a brushed look to the finish. The brass is usually brushed with a unique tool that all go in the same direction so you can see visible lines on the brass finish.
  • Hand Rubbed Finish – The hand-rubbed finished is also called the oiled finish or oiled brass. This finish is sometimes called the soft finish, as it is done by hand to give an almost soft yet darker feel to the brass.
  • Antique Finish – The antique brass finish is when the brass is darkened to make it look aged or old like an antique. Many times this finish can have almost a chocolate brown look.
  • Bronze Finish – A bronze finish is a finish with a bronze color, as the name implies. The bronze color is often aged to give an antique look and feel.
  • Verdigris Finish– The verdigris finish is when the brass is purposely aged to give it a green pigment; the verdigris is brass that has been weathered.

What Is Brass Plated?

On the other hand, brass plated is, as the name implies, a small amount of brass that has been put or plated on top of another piece of metal.

Brass plating first started to be experimented with as far back as the 1600s, but it was not until the 1920s that electroplating began to be used as a solution to brass. So the chances are if you have an item that you know is older than the 1920s, it is solid brass, and if after the 1920s, it could be solid brass or brass plated.

The brass is usually plated on steel or a white metal like zinc, to which molecules of brass are electroplated onto the surface. A lacquer topcoat is often placed on the surface to make sure the brass plating will not deteriorate over time.

Sometimes you can take off the lacquer top coat and then polish or refinish the brass underneath. Other times it can damage the finish, and the piece will need to be replated again.

Find out more about how Mondoro can help you create, develop, and manufacture excellent home decor and home furniture products – including brass items – don’t hesitate to contact me, AnitaCheck out my email by clicking here or become a part of our community and join our newsletter by clicking here.

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Which Is Better Nickel Or Brass?

Nickel and Brass are both excellent metal choices to use. Brass has a golden yellow color, and Nickel has a silver or almost grey color. Both metals can be plated onto another metal or material, and brass can also be solid brass.

You can discover more by reading Which Is Better Nickel Or Brass? by clicking here.

Are Brass And Nickel The Same?

Both Brass and Nickel are metal finishes that can be electroplated or plated. They contain some copper and can be made into various unique and exciting looks and finishes. Because of their versatility, they remain popular metals and finishes for various products and uses.

You can find out more by reading our blog Are Brass And Nickel The Same? by clicking here.

Brass Plated Vs. Chrome Plated Metals Explained

Both Brass and Chrome are plated on metal in the same electroplating method, but the look and finish are not the same. Brass will have a warm golden color, whereas Chrome will look like shiny silver metal. Both are excellent electroplated treatments, and which one you choose can also depend on the look you want for a specific product.

You can discover more by reading Brass Plated Vs. Chrome Plated Metals Explained by clicking here.

Anita Hummel

Hi, I am Anita Hummel. I am the President of Mondoro. I am passionate about helping you CREATE, DEVELOP, and MANUFACTURE home decor and home furnishing products. I am also an avid blogger with a love of travel and riding my motorcycle around the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam.

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Quick Way To Tell If Something Is Brass