Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Salaams all, I am sometimes asked why we clean Khanjars (and Swords) thus taking off what collectors call Patina.
Naturally collectors admire and seek that syndrome we call patina but in the living breathing form i.e. Local Arab users of what we call ethnographic arms here in Arabia the view is different. These khanjars are for wearing and against a pure white dishdash, Omani national dress, the weapons must be spotlessly clean... Otherwise the silver oxide makes an awful mess as it rubs off onto the white dishdash robes ! Its as simple as that. It is for that reason that Khanjars are lined at the back with either leather or felt cloth. Perhaps if you think of gold as the sun and silver the moon neither should be portrayed as dull...It should be remembered that they are the badge of office as head of the family, thus, can hardly be worn dirty.
Quite often khanjars come in for cleaning... removal of the patina... but rest assured patina on silver returns really fast. It is continually oxidising ... In the store we have new items under glass which oxidise quite slowly and other khanjars... 50 or so hanging on the wall... that are full of patina ... A local client will often ask that a khanjar is cleaned before he takes it... It takes an hour... We use the same items as our silver workshops ... water and a brass bristled brush which only takes off the silver oxide and gives a burnished bright clean silver look... highly polished the khanjar is then dried in the sun, buffed with a clean cloth and ready for collection.
Of course this is opposite to what many collectors want... but as I say... patina on silver returns very quickly and in a few months it is complete ... at which point the collector may wish to highlight certain aspects of the silver in a partial polish up thus keeping the contrasting older patina partly intact.
Technically we don't actually remove patina but only by definition remove the "silver oxide" The old, rounded, soft effect to silver items is therefor enhanced but I hope my explanation describes the two views of the same subject.
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.