Beware of Psuedo Bronze!
However, not all art labelled 'bronze' is solid metal.
Real bronze is an alloy. Mainly a mixture of copper and tin melted together at vast Fahrenheit temperatures, poured into a mould. Consequently it is very strong. So strong that if dropped on the floor it will usually not be the bronze that breaks, but the floor tile or even your foot! If you were to gently scrape the patina away it would reveal a bright gold colour underneath. Do not however gouge the metal as this would cause damage!
Area of bronze showing where the patina has been deliberately
gently removed to expose the golden bronze metal underneath.
Sculptures can be produced in different materials. Some have the appearance of bronze but are actually not. For instance the main body could be cast in plaster of Paris and painted, or cast in resin with bronze powder. Their labels are not deliberately trying to deceive but can confuse. One can have purchased an inferior product unwittingly: a supposed 'bronze' but not a 'real' bronze. They will be of a lighter weight, warm to touch and have a dull thud sound when tapped.
Other materials can be labelled as:
• Cold cast bronze or Bonded bronze.
These are a mixture of resin and bronze powder for colouring. The resin could be a Polyester or Urethane. The cast is made by pouring the resin and bronze powder mix directly into a mould. It is a quicker process but does not have the strength and longevity of hot-cast (true metal) bronze.
• Bronze resin
A clearer term highlighting the resin. This is the same as Cold cast bronze or Bonded bronze.
• Bronze finish
A description of any material that has a finish that looks like bronze. This could be plaster of Paris that is painted, for instance.
Resin can be highly flammable. It is imperative that you know what your sculpture is made of. Where as a true solid metal bronze can happily be placed near a candle or fireplace, one made from a resin can be a fire hazard. In a house fire a true metal bronze is likely to be one of the few things to survive unscathed. A resin derived sculpture on the other hand, could be an accelerant and be completely consumed!
Resin and other materials are likely a lot cheaper. Not intended to be long-lasting, they can break far more easily, and would not be expected to be collectables in the same way a true metal bronze would be. If in doubt, touch the sculpture and ask questions.