The Beauty of Old Moscow Copper Mugs with Green Patina


The Beauty of Old Moscow Copper Mugs with Green Patina

Some things age well. Wine, for starters. Cheese. Jeans are most definitely better after some wear. Oh, and let’s not forget Moscow Mule copper mugs. 

That’s right — 100% copper mugs get more beautiful as they age. The shiny pink-orange color slowly develops into a unique copper patina known as green copper or Verdigris. This name comes from the Old French verte grez, which means “green of Greece,” hinting at the vibrant bluish-green color present in advanced copper oxidation. 

In fact, up until the 19th century, verdigris was coveted as pigment in artists’ paintings because of its vivid green properties.

Copper has historically been used in architecture and art because of this green patina — including the most famous verdigris statue of all: The Statue of Liberty.

Unlike iron, which develops a corrosive rust that eats away at the metal as it oxidizes, copper oxidation actually protects the copper from deterioration by adhering to the metal and keeping oxygen out. 

That’s how the copper weathering of the Statue of Liberty amounted to just .005 of an inch in a century, according to the Copper Development Association.

How Long for Copper to Patina Naturally?

When the Statue of Liberty was constructed, it was the shade of a brand-new Moscow Copper mug. Over the years, the statue has undergone several color transitions as it weathered in the elements — from orange to dull brown to finally settling into its iconic sea green tint.

The amount of time it takes for copper to patina varies depending on the conditions. In coastal or heavy-industrial areas, it could be as quick as 5-7 years. In rural areas with low levels of sulfur dioxide in the air, patina could take 10-14 years. Additionally, the higher the temperature, the faster the chemical oxidation reaction will occur. Rainier or wetter environments also speed up the process. 

You can also hasten a copper patina color by leaving the windows open or keeping your copper mug next to the stove or in the back of the refrigerator. Sitting your copper mug next to a window will do the trick, too.

How to Patina Copper (DIY)

If you aren’t inclined to wait decades for natural copper patina, there are some tricks you can deploy to artificially bring on the oxidation.

BLUE PATINA

GREEN PATINA

BROWN PATINA

Miracle-Gro

  • 1 part Miracle-Gro plant fertilizer + 3 parts water
  • Apply with a spray bottle
  • Patina will develop in as little as 30 minutes

Ammonia

  • ½ inch of pure ammonia to a bucket
  • Spray copper with salt water and place copper above the bucket on a wooden block
  • Cover the copper and bucket until the copper is dark brown with blue hints. Uncover and allow blue to develop.

 

Vinegar + Ammonia

  • 2 cups white vinegar + 1.5 cups ammonia + 0.5 cups non-iodized salt
  • Apply in a spray bottle until desired patina.

Miracle-Gro + Vinegar

  • 1 part Miracle-Gro plant fertilizer + 3 parts red wine vinegar
  • Apply with a spray bottle
  • Patina will develop in as little as 30 minutes

 

Eggs

  • Copper + plastic baggie + newly boiled and smashed eggs
  • Let sit until desired patina

Baking Soda

  • Add baking soda in a spray bottle of hot water until the baking soda will not dissolve
  • Spray copper until desired patina

 

 

The caveat is that the patina that forms from these methods are temporary and must be sealed to stay permanent. Copper sealant or wax will keep your patina in place. 

We use lacquer on our antique copper mugs to bring you an impeccably weathered and antique look without all the waiting.

However, the rest of Moscow Copper’s mugs are 100% solid copper, meaning they will patina over time into that natural verdigris. It can be exciting to watch the green patina on copper develop as you drink from your old Moscow Copper mugs year after year. Just like wine and cheese and jeans, sometimes it’s worth the wait to get to the good part. 

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THE ORIGINAL MUG WITH GIFT BOX

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