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Brass has been a popular finish since the nineteenth century. Maybe because the polished variety looks like gold, but who really knows? The thing about brass is that it looks great but you have to do a lot of polishing to keep it at its brightest best. You can polish your brass until your elbow falls off, but in time your unprotected brass will tarnish (develop brown spots). This is not a big deal for a lot of brass aficionados. They dig brown spots. Since brass is supposed to tarnish, some renovators prefer their brass unprotected.