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Gentleman's Military Interest Club

Enamel comparisons FAKE/Original

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Granted Not the same badge but you can see the difference in the enamel quality.

On the Original the enamel is flat and even with the outside boarders

Nice smooth as glass finish

The Fake is very uneven, wavy..


IPB Image


IPB Image


Edited by georgecl

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When observing enameling which was done 100 years ago or longer versus what resources are available to the faker today, a collector must understand the application process as well as the colors and pigments that were available both then and now. If you understand this process and know what to look for, fakes will be easy to identify.

Let me begin with the enameling process. Majority of orders and badges have a very hard and glassy like enamel on them. This enameling was applied very similar to like Powder Coating of today. It went on ruff, textured and powdery. The colors were not the same when applied. They would change after it was baked which allowed it to flow and become glass like. The jeweler or manufacturer would then use rubbing compound or jewelers rouge to polish the enameling.

The fakes of today use enamels as well. But these enamels are in liquid form. "Paint". Like Automotive quality enamels. Paint, if not rubbed out will be lumpy and textured. Again, rubbing compounds or jewelers rouge is required to polish the enameling. It is also easy to spot by applying your finger nail into the enameled surface. Enamels can be applied with and without catalyst hardeners. Without hardener, the enamel is soft and you can leave a fingernail indentation into the surface. With a catalyst hardener, chances are you can do the same thing as it is very difficult to measure the right quantity when mixing for such a small area. Too little or too much hardener also affect the curing of the paint.

Color and pigmentation. 100 years ago and older, pigments where made from several organic sources. Plants, minerals, rocks, etc. They where not very clean and bright. They had a very muddy or dirty appearance. Pastel white enamels even had a lot of black specs in it. Imperfections when grinding rock that could not be filtered out. Look at paint on a very old car from the 1920's-1930's. The color is always muddy and dirty looking in pigmentation verses cars made today which are very bright and clean looking. Pigmentation today comes from several sources including mining and synthetic man made. The refining methods make for brighter and cleaner pigments used in ink and paint. These brighter colors also send up red flag warnings to a collector that a badge or order may have been reproduced.

Hope this has been some help.

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Black enamels in the old days used charcoal for pigmentation. Under a magnifier and strong light, you will see that it has a brown or yellow cast to it. Black enameling today that appear on reproductions are pure black.

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