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Quick Reads

Patina Is The Newest Vintage Trend

The definition in Wikipedia talks of oxidisation, age, wear, exposure and frequency of use; and a hashtag search on Instagram reveals over 800,000
posts. Patina has become something of a buzzword in various areas of the vintage universe.

Patina is a sign the item has been lovingly used

Put simply, patina is authenticity, a sign of age, proof of life. On the classic car scene it means paint faded under scorching sun, rust, even the odd dent. In other words, a visual testimony to every mile driven in every condition possible. You are most likely to find the term applied to American pick up truck; a hard working life can be seen in every blemish, rust spot and faded patch.

In fashion, patina will summon up the perfect fade on vintage selvedge denim, a beautifully worn leather brogue or the build up of road dirt on a Falstaff biker jacket.

19th C small pine trunk 2nd image

Image Credit: Saxon Durrant. 19th C small pine trunk

In the vintage furniture and antique world the term runs riot amongst every material and element used. On wood it can mean a texture, colour, paint finish or just an area of wear. The distinctive green hue of copper gained over decades of oxidisation is perhaps one of the most familiar patinas. Similarly, dull brass contrasts with any modern lacquered equivalent.

Age and use add to the charm

A 1930’s leather club chair will often have the ‘P’ word as part of its description. Generally, the better the ‘P’ the higher the price. Years of repeated use, or just the fact of being old creates ‘layers’. These manifest as the difference between used and unused parts of the same piece, repairs, or simply exposure to the elements. Sometimes the layers are more literal, coats of paint revealing themselves like a chronology of interior trends. Many pieces of furniture have shown the garish colours of the 70’s fading through to the ‘drabs’ of much earlier decades.

vintage buttoned leather footstool leather detail

Image Credit: Saxon Durrant. Vintage buttoned leather footstool

Patina is something of an X factor when buying anything old. Mint, unused condition, whilst being a wonder to achieve lacks the soul of an equivalent showing its age and how it was used. The antique dealers of Instagram will highlight an ‘honest’ or ‘naïve’ repair as much as the lovely colour something has taken on over time. This is a term all about honesty and originality, a good patina will draw the eye and the imagination beyond the exterior surface.

Is it possible to ‘fake’ patina? Any number of painted and distressed pieces of furniture, whether brand new or simply given the shabby chic treatment, will tell you ‘yes’. The discerning eye is however always drawn to the authentic, and this is where every object through its patina is as individual as a fingerprint or a snowflake.

1930s 15 section wooden factory pigeon holes detail

Image Credit: Saxon Durrant. A 1930s 15 section wooden factory pigeon holes storage unit.

By doing a quick search on Preloved, we have found several items listed whose description contain the word “patina”. Have a look, you might just find the ideal piece to add to your home!

Saxon Durrant

Saxon Durrant

Community User

Saxon Durrant has been dealing in vintage furniture for over 20 years, cutting his teeth at Camden Stables Market in the early 1990s. His company Metroretro Ltd now supplies a mix of vintage and bespoke handmade furniture to commercial and private clients. A prop hire service also keeps things busy at the warehouse in Essex.