Comments for Antique Ruth & Boaz Cameo| What should remounting do or not do?

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Caring for Antique Brass, Copper and Bronze
by: Aisha

Lovely Cameo - shame about the brass metal frame though; It being metal and all, didn't last the distance of your cameo which you think is SHELL - below are some of the reasons why this might have happened and might help to identify problem areas in the future and help you maintain the softer metal frames, should you choose one in the future.

Antique Brass (copper and bronze) in great condition is getting harder to find these days and this is the reason why!

Antique Brass, Copper and Bronze for that matter should not be scoured with wire or steel wool, nylon or plastic dish cleaners or other severe abrasives, because brass and copper are relatively soft and although bronze is much harder, there is no need for it.

Never use polishes or cleaners that contain ammonia or anhydrous products on antique brass, copper and bronze. It was recently discovered these chemicals cause etching, cracking, fissures and premature ageing of soft alloys, especially brass, bronze and copper.

***Many accepted and established named products use these as antioxidants. Read the label or smell it. Just because the manufacturer says it is a polish for brass doesn't mean it won't damage it in the long term. One of the major warning signs that there is a problem with the polish, is when a polish states that it is not recommended for use on aluminium or any other pure metal. A polish should be usable on any metal other than plated surfaces or precious metals. Many of the most established products in the world are now banned from use.

Anhydrous solvents will readily dissolve Zinc, and Zinc happens to be component of Brass, which is also used in many other metals to reduce oxidization. Plus anhydrous and ammonia based polishes deteriorate so fast the finish will be dull again in weeks. That is how many of these manufacturers resell their polishes. Yikes!

Do not use a polish that contains a vegetable based wax, such as bees wax or carnauba. All vegetable based waxes are acidic and attack what they are supposed to protect. They are also porous so oxidization happens underneath them.
Don't use lacquers, clearcoats or glazes to protect your brass unless it is exposed to very severe conditions such as a marine environment. It should never be necessary!

Don't pass your freshly finished work for everybody to admire without picking it up in a cloth. Sweat will attack the preserving waxes and they will slowly get removed.


response to Yvonne
by: Jeanie

Based on the curvature, I believe it is shell. I am not tied to the current setting although I would like a bronze replica in order to keep it the way the original artist intended.

The hard part is finding someone professional who has experience with this sort of thing. Do you know of anyone in the Portland area who does this kind of work?

Ruth & Boaz in the Wheat Fields
by: Anonymous

Hi Jeanie

now there's a cameo with an uncommon subject, of the well known bible story of Ruth meeting Boaz in the wheat fields. The classic case of when the right man meets the right woman!

It also looks very well carved and the cameo still looks fresh and in good condition and very deserving of a remount.

The Roman Numerals could indicate the date. 1912 possibly, and would fit in with the history of your cameo.

Jeanie, are you thinking of using the same frame, for sentimental reasons maybe? If I were you I would have the cameo remounted in a robust plain gold frame, fabricated in such a way that the cameo could be worn securely as a pendant or a brooch. If you decide to ditch the original and invest in a new frame - I would be a bit choosey who I engaged to do the work. Is the material shell or a hardstone, like carnelian?

If I can be of any more assistance please let me know.

Best Regards


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