Understanding the Ageing Process of Copper Lanterns’
Each of our copper lanterns have been crafted from solid copper sheeting and coated in a light wet lacquer. This protective lacquer has been specifically designed to break down over time to allow the copper to naturally patina. The intensity and speed of this colour change will depend on the chemicals and salt content in the air and will gradually patina down to a rich green verdigris over a number of years. Generally, we advise our customers to only purchase copper lanterns if they are looking to achieve this colouration however, if you wish to preserve the polished copper appearance of your lantern, you will need to follow some annual maintenance steps.
Maintaining Copper Lanterns
When exposed to the outdoor elements the aging process of copper is inevitable, but an annual coating of yacht varnish will help to protect the metal from the elements and significantly slow down the process. Naturally, the oxygen in the air reacts with the copper elements by attacking the outer layer of the metalwork. This unique reaction is known as ‘oxidation’ and, despite the change in colour, will not negatively affect the integrity of the metal.
The below images detail how the colour of copper changes over time. The oxidation process can take some time depending on the atmospheric conditions and any yearly maintenance done to the lantern. Generally, a copper lantern with no maintenance will take six months to two years to start to patina. Please note that, if you live near the coast, this aging process will accelerate due to the salt content in the air. Please also note that this process is an organic one so some areas may start to age quicker than others, and it may take time for the Verdigris patina to become completely even.