Friday, 20 April 2012

Green Russian

This leather purse is from Kazan in Russia. It contains two nuts and according to our records, once also held two old Russian coins. It was carried to ensure that the bearer always had money. 

Before treatment (PRM: 1985.52.968)

Detail of corrosion (PRM: 1985.52.968)
The purse was passed to me for conservation treatment due to there being green-blue evidence of copper corrosion around the eyelets.

We always assess an artefact throughly before carrying out any treatment, as a sweep of our brush could mean life or death for a little piece of history.

On first inspection it looked a little like there had been copper wire stitching around the eyelets and that this had corroded. If this was the case, I would need to record it carefully before continuing treatment, so I took a look at it under the microscope. I took the photo by attaching a Canon EOS 60D camera to a microscope set at x40 magnification. The image was then sharpened using Helicon Focus Software.

After treatment (PRM: 1985.52.968)

This revealed that it was just products of copper corrosion growing away from the eyelets, giving the illusion of stitching. As a result I could simply brush away the corrosion and vacuum up the debris with our Museum vacuum. 


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