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Is it Silver or Gun metal

Bob Newell

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Gun metal is a form of silicoln bronze which is used alone or mixed with nickel

gun shops have chemical solvents and blueing agents which will patina silicon bronze and tell you if thats what you have. usually a brass color with a slight red tinge to it is an indicator or silicoln bronze although some silicoln bronze

is more brass colored. the biggest difference is weight.


without use of chemicals

i would get a digital scale compute the mass for your peice and use small peice silcoln bronze and small peice of brass and deduce mathematically how much metal----- brass versus bronze would be..........and that would let you know proof positive which one you have. bronze being heavier.



However seeing your example ------ it looks very much like verdegris, which is a form of rust that commonly occurs when the copper and zinc which make up the brass come in contact with water and humdity. id be willing to bet a roll of duct tape its probably brass which had a silver coating.



commerical shining products are often used to remove this----but they all detract from the value of the peice and if it had silver plating any chemicals can erase whats left of original silver.


essentially verdegris is a form of metal delaminating.


bear in mind that many forms of rust can also be artistic in color and shade but are not to be confused with patination which is delibrate process of chemical modification which can actually makes the metal stronger.


what you have seems to be drop formed brass vase which has had a coating applied to it at one time electrochemically plated----possibly silver----the silver flaked off and left brass zinc to rust.


Teapots are still commerially manufactured this way and several teapots ive had from 1760's bore the same verdegris type color and spotting.


Nickel silver is whats its often mistaken for. Nickel silver peices do not rust---they can have a chemical patina

but by and large do not rust.

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