To Polish or Not - II


German Jugendstil Hand-Hammered Brass Tray with Pillowed Gallery (LEO Design)


Polishing brass is much less fraught than polishing copper—for brass darkens much more quickly than copper.  Any "ambitious over-polishing" will be remediated within a year or two.  On a newly-acquired piece of antique brass, I will give it a thorough polishing if the piece is badly marked or unevenly patinated.  Then, every couple of years, I will give the brass a very light re-polishing—just to give it a clean look, a little lift.  I always avoid highly-polishing brass as it ends up looking too new.

Like with copper, brass looks good when the repoussé work is polished with a "high-low" effect (to make the dimensional decoration "pop").  Furthermore, all residual polish must be removed from the crevices before it dries.  Freshly polished brass is best left out-of-reach from hands which may leave pesky, oily fingermarks.

As for waxing: very dark brass looks great when waxed to a soft lustre.  But wax doesn't work very well on shiny finishes; the wax takes-on a cloudy look over a high shine.

The German Jugendstil hand-hammered brass tray, shown above, was made in the earliest Twentieth Century.  A softly-planished surface is surrounded by a pillowed gallery.  Click on the photo above to learn more about it.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248