Bronze is an alloy. It is made from a mixture of primarily copper and tin (sometimes aluminum is added).
Bronze oxidizes. A freshly-cut apple turns brown, a bicycle fender becomes rusty. What do all of these events have in common? They are all examples of a process called oxidation. Oxidation is defined as the interaction between oxygen molecules and all the different substances they may contact, from metal to living tissue.
Patina: a film on the surface of bronze or similar metals (produced by oxidation over a long period) The “greenish” colors below on the statues and roof is called – patina..
Samples of oxidized bronze or copper:
Statue of Liberty
Your memorial is made from bronze. It has a special Diamond Shield® coating over it to help slow the oxidization BUT, it will still fade, oxidize and patina over time. NOTHING WILL STOP IT!
Oxidization and patina do not weaken the bronze. It is just a natural process.
Below are some pictures of actual bronze markers in Forest Hills at different stages of oxidation.
Cleaning and Care for Bronze Markers
What hurts the bronze finish: Sunlight and UVA/UVB rays, chemicals and cleaners that customers puts on it, oxygen in air which aids the oxidation process, time.
Taking care of your bronze memorial as detailed below will help keep it looking nice but NOTHING will stop the oxidation process, dulling, and eventual patina on the marker itself.
1. Use a DRY towel (coton) to wipe dust from your marker as needed.
2. When needed, use water and mild soap/detergent. RINSE WELL.
Your memorial came with a coating of Diamond Shield® from the manufacturer of your memorial – Matthews Bronze, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This clear coating is designed to help protect and slow down the oxidation process.
EXTRA Diamond Shield®
We offer for sell, aerosol cans of Diamond Shield to the public.
Applying this about twice a year (more isn’t better), will help add to the overall appearance of your bronze. FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS ON THE CAN.
REFINISHING: For an extra charge, bronze can be stripped and refinished. See office for details and pricing.
STOP! DO NOT USE
There are several rumors and home remedies going around on cleaning bronze. DO NOT USE THEM! They do more harm than good. Some cause waxy build-up, eat the finish and scratch the marker. NO STEEL WOOL, NO WAXES, NO ABRASIVE CLEANERS, NO OILS!