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A thin, greenish film or discoloration that forms, after long exposure to the atmosphere, on bronze and copper, sometimes on jewelry of such metals, adding a prized artistic effect. The natural patina is a carbonate of copper that forms to protect the metal from further oxidation. By extension of the term, it has been applied to a reddish patina-effect on ancient gold jewelry and to the so-called patina on silver that is a surface blur resulting from numerous shallow scratches. An artificial patina can be produced with acids.
From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson