Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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grendolino 31st December 2017 03:29 PM

Red rust
Dear guys. Sorry to bother on The Edge od The years but let me Ask a practical question: does true oriental sword corrodes in red rust or is it the sign of poor modern Steel?
I am following The auction of The nice shamshir in mediocre condition with nice quillon nad proper blade appearance but a bit rusty. Thus i can't refer to pictures.

Battara 2nd January 2018 04:30 AM

Red rust is active rust and must be eliminated. Black rust is more stable.

mariusgmioc 2nd January 2018 09:42 AM

Yes, red rust is recent, active rust that is progressing fast into healthy metal. It appears on both old and new blades.

Black-ish rust is stable ( does not progress into healthy metal) and even offers some protection agaist red rust.

However, while black-ish rust can be seen as a sign of age as it takes more years to develop (but it can appear also after about 4-5 years) red rust can appear at any time and cannot provide any indication about the age of the blade.



grendolino 2nd January 2018 04:55 PM

Thank you, gentlemen

OsobistGB 2nd January 2018 07:46 PM

Unfortunately, the presence of red rust is often a sign of artificial aging.Counterfeiters use hydrochloric acid to process the metal and the presence of red rust is a warning sign.Even in the most renowned European and American auctions are offered fakes.

Robert 3rd January 2018 12:54 AM

While that might have been true in the past and without going into detail most counterfeiters of antique edged weapons now are well beyond using any method that produces red rust unless they are using it as the first process in the creation of an artificial antique finish. Most red rust that you will encounter is usually a result of improper cleaning and handling, poor storage preparation or conditions or a combination of any of these things. I have found that a close inspection of how an item was made and the materials used in its construction can tell you more about its authenticity than depending on the color of any rust that might be present ever could. Quite a few sellers do not and will not clean an item before offering it for sale, but would rather let the new owner decide what if anything should be done.


Sajen 3rd January 2018 10:47 AM

Any steel can show red rust, antique or new one and can't be a proof of authenticity! But black rust "can" be a sign of good age.
And I agree with everything Robert and Marius have stated!

Fernando K 3rd January 2018 01:13 PM


With the little that is of chemistry, I know that there is no inactive oxide. Even the black oxide (ferrous-ferric) of the blued, continues to act if it does not receive a conservation treatment. What happens is that it continues its action below the surface of the metal, and its action is not seen, and it is very slow

Fernando K

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