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Will Brass in Fashion Apparel Stain the Clothing?

Q. Hi. I am a footwear technologist of many years experience but this posting is about the use of a brass chain on clothing. I am concerned about the chain tarnishing to an extent where it stains the garment or looks unsightly. Is this likely to happen in a short space of time?

I'm also not 100% sure the chain is brass. It has a dull brass colour coating on the outer side, not a true brass colour, almost like brass covered in a resin. And the core of the link is silver coloured. Must be an alloy of some sorts. Do you think it is really brass as my supplier claims?

We have had the chain for several months now and it has not yet discoloured ... but my problems always occur after sales!

Footwear itself uses very little metal. Eyelets, heel pins, nails, shanks being examples. Most of these items are critical to a shoes safety though.

Thanks for any responses in advance,
and great website.

Ahmed Vania
metal novice - London, United Kingdom
May 27, 2010

May 27, 2010

A. Hi, Ahmed. Brass can be lacquered or clearcoated to deter tarnishing if a bright brass look is required, but I don't think it will stain the clothing in normal exposure in any case as the tarnish is tightly adherent.

But brass is yellow, and if the core is silver colored, I'd say it is not brass. You can check with a magnet to see if it is steel, which would rust. I think if it was aluminum you would have recognized the lightness, So my guess is that it's a zinc diecasting and that the color is a lacquer, but guesses are only guesses and not much assurance.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

June 7, 2010

thumbs up sign Dear Ted

Thank you for your clear and detailed response.

I had the item tested at an independent laboratory and it tarnished. It also discoloured a cotton lawn it was placed on but the stain was barely noticeable.

We are going to take the sensible step of applying a finish to the chain.

I don't like unhappy customers, so its the right thing to do.

Kind Regards

Ahmed Vania
- London, United Kingdom

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