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Fire Works: Creating Our Copper Patina Colors

While sifting through your change jar, you may never have stopped to think about the variance in copper patina colors in front of you. If you’re planning to install a copper range hood or a farmhouse copper sink, however, the color tone of the finished copper you’re purchasing will certainly be one of the most important considerations in your choice.

Copper is a naturally occurring metal which man has been employing for use for more than 10,000 years. In its pure form, copper melts at 1,981°F (1,083°C) and solidifies into a relatively soft, malleable metal. The artisans that create our unique SoLuna brand copper items work with mostly reclaimed and recycled copper scrap, which is structurally identical to virgin copper. The artists melt the copper scrap until it’s molten at which point they can add less than 1% zinc to create an alloy that is stronger than pure copper. During that process, any other impurities are skimmed off. Then, small batches of copper sheets are poured, cooled, and hand-hammered for additional strengthening. Then comes the finishing process!

We offer four beautiful proprietary SoLuna copper finish colors: Matte Copper, Café Natural, Dark Smoke, and Rio Grande. All of the copper sinks start off in the Matte Copper finish, which is a raw hammered copper without any natural or added patina. This finish will appear bright and shiny, like a new penny, and does require regular (easy!) polishing to keep it that way. Without that maintenance, a lovely patina will naturally begin to develop on copper as it is exposed to air and water. Unlike other metals that rust when exposed, copper’s natural aging process is typically very desirable as it ranges from brown sugar tones to mocha, to pumpkin pie. Our artisans developed an application to speed up and mimic the naturally aged copper patina process, which results in our SoLuna Café Natural finish.

To obtain the darker, richer chocolate and espresso tones of our Dark Smoke finish, our artisans apply a combination of chemical wash and flame heat. This process accelerates the aging process, and in fact, allows the sink to darken more than it would naturally. This finish is dramatic and eye-catching and fits well in modern or ethnic style rooms, and especially complements faucet finishes in Oil Rubbed Bronze tones.

The Rio Grande finish is created through a two-step process. First, the SoLuna artisans create the Dark Smoke patina on the sink. Then, the patina is buffed off of the ridges of the raised hammer marks, leaving the dark color in the low spots. The final finish has a beautiful combination of black, espresso, dark chocolate and red tones, with a highlighted pattern of shiny natural copper.

In order to maintain your desired sink patina, we recommend that you apply a thin layer of Renaissance Wax every 4-6 weeks, and be sure to avoid cleaning with copper polishes or chemical cleaners (unless you have the Matte Copper finish). Acidic foods such as lemon, salsa, and ketchup can lighten the finish since those substances react with copper. Remember that copper has a living, evolving finish, and you should expect variation in color over the life of the sink, depending on how it’s used!