Patina or impairment: interpreting surface changes to contemporary plastic jewellery

Rogerson, Cordelia (2006) Patina or impairment: interpreting surface changes to contemporary plastic jewellery. In, Conservation Symposium Royal College of Art/ Victoria & Albert Museum 2006, London, UK, 08 May 2006.


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The existence of patina, or surface change on objects that accrues over time, is widely accepted within the conservation profession. Aesthetically patina is most often regarded as a positive addition to objects and is described using terms such as ‘beautiful’ and ‘maturing’. Jewellery created from plastic inevitably suffers surface changes particularly scratches, chips, loss of colour and surface whitening, which have similarly amassed over time. Whilst jewellery constructed from conventional precious materials is regarded by curators and conservators as capable of acquiring patina, plastic artist jewellery, to date, is not. Instead they are frequently considered as damaged and marred.

When considering the preservation of plastic jewellery, therefore, the following question arises. If traditional jewellery can acquire patina then why consider plastic jewellery in a different frame of mind? By considering the occurrence of and attitudes towards patina on both jewellery and plastic objects, the paper will propose the existence of patina on plastic jewellery. Views of artists will be considered alongside those of curators and conservators to offer terms of reference that can distinguish patina from other types of damage encountered in contemporary plastic jewellery. As a result the ageing and deterioration processes of these artefacts can be better interpreted and understood.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords: plastic, patina, artist jewellery, interpretation, conservation, surface changes
Subjects: T Technology > TT Handicrafts Arts and crafts
N Fine Arts > NK Decorative arts Applied arts Decoration and ornament
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Art
ePrint ID: 39901
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
8 May 2006Delivered
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:10

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