What is brass?

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, used and prized since ancient times for its beauty, resilience, and durability. Color variations are the result of slightly different proportions of copper and zinc. Brass can be cast (Jefferson Brass), forged, spun, or die-cut. It is used in our homes for fine hardware, lighting fixtures, fireplace equipment, candlesticks and many other decorative pieces. It can also be finished in a number of ways. These include highly polished (Jefferson Brass); satin or brushed finish; hand rubbed finish; and antique, bronze and verdigris.

A piece is solid brass if the material is pure brass—whether it is the hollow tube of a fire tool or chandelier arm or a two pound candle holder. Jefferson Brass is always solid brass. Solid brass can be polished to its original beauty, but if a piece has been lacquered in the past, you must first remove the old lacquer. It can be removed without damaging the brass by using paint or lacquer remover. 

If you are wondering if your piece is solid brass or brass plated, here is how you can tell. Test with a magnet. Solid brass is not magnetic. If the magnet sticks, the item is most likely steel or cast iron and has been brass plated. Still not convinced? Take a sharp tool, and scratch a small area that is unnoticeable. If you see yellow underneath that scratch mark, it is more than likely solid brass.

Fast forward to the year 2011. Jefferson Brass did not previously lacquer its pieces because we liked the look/patina of hand polished brass, and many of our customers preferred the same. If you find that time just doesn’t allow you to polish your brass, then you may consider having it lacquered. We now offer our custom lacquer process because we understand time restraints don't allow for the luxury of hand polishing your brass. We are very pleased with the results of our superior lacquer process. But remember clear lacquer finish is not forever. The durability of lacquer on outdoor items, such as door knockers, varies widely depending on the location and how much direct or indirect weathering the piece is subject to. You can always re-polish and relacquer if need be.

Reasons to Buy Unlacquered Brass

Lacquer is a clear coating which protects and preserves the brass by sealing it from air, which oxidizes (tarnishes) it. However, with the onset of oxidation, the lacquer will eventually deteriorate and it must be removed completely, re-polished and re-lacquered. Unlacquered brass means the brass has no protective coating (lacquer) on it, and you will need to hand polish from time to time with a good metal polish in order to bring back the original brilliant luster and warm patina you saw when your piece arrived.


Tips On Cleaning Unlacquered Brass

All brass that does not have a varnish/lacquer must be polished from time to time, just like fine silver. It is a simple process and should not be a deterrent from buying unlacquered brass. Jefferson Brass has traditionally never lacquered their brass.


Reasons to Buy Lacquered Brass

Lacquer has been requested by some of our customers for ease of maintenance and to prevent tarnishing. So for the first time in twenty five years, Jefferson Brass has decided to offer our valued customers the option of having their products lacquered. This is a choice you will find during the order process where a window pops up asking how you would like your brass finished, polished or lacquered. 


Hefty Weight

A quarter of a century ago in a small studio workshop, an idea was conceived. A husband and wife began to design a small gift line to be made with the finest materials and attention to detail. Their concept was simple. Adding more brass and thus creating a real human dimension to each of their pieces would add an increment level of value unmatched anywhere in the marketplace.


What Makes Jefferson Brass Company Special

If you are seeking ideas for original gifts and brass accessories, then Jefferson Brass is a place to shop. With a rich history of experience and strong base of expertise, the skilled craftsmen at Jefferson Brass make excellent designs that match modern day functionality. 

Our items are made totally by hand, using the same sand casting and finishing processes as in Revolutionary times, in order to retain the authenticity and patina of the past. Because of the completely handcrafted workmanship of each piece, you may occasionally be able to discern very small inclusions, imperfections, and even slight size variations. This is to be expected, and we ask that you understand that they are an inherent part of the manufacturing process. Our brass products, we believe, are the best that can be made today. Every piece is designed and copyrighted by Jefferson Brass.


Volume Discounts

Volume discounts begin at quantity 10. Please call Customer Service at 703-821-8222 for individual quotes.

Jefferson Brass Company’s Brass Gift Guide

Every year, the Jefferson Brass Company designs spectacular new products in its most popular lines to help keep their loyal customer base returning.  Read more...