Join Date: Jan 2006
Gold inlay is typical on these spears. Could be brass as well, but most likely, and I do think it is gold inlay. Please do not quit your job yet:-) the coftrari technique uses thin gold wire and requires very little of it, it's only a few grams.
Do not polish/clean the shaft! Clean only the blade, slightly, just to allow good contact between solution and metal . Do not touch the inlaid areas, and do not let any acid touch them, as it'll ruin the gold! Teodor's recommendation is good. Submerge the blade, or portion of it, in the solution until the metal becomes dark(er). You may also use any acid, like real lemon juice. If it is wootz - you'll see the pattern. If plain steel - the area will remain evenly dark shaded. Something tells me you'll see the pattern:-) Good luck, and let us know the result.
This is classical Persian, late Qajar (mid-late 19th Century) spear. They are well forged, were mounted on long (2 meters+) wooden poles and in addition to stabbing spears were used as "Alam" i.e. standard during parades and processions.