Lightly buff the metal surface with steel wool to remove any remaining debris covering the color of the metal.
When you have removed all encrustations, finishes and debris, you can distinguish brass from copper by the yellow (rather than pink) color tones.
Leave the object submerged in the solution for anywhere from an hour to several days, until the encrustations have dissolved or fallen off and you are better able to identify the metal underneath.
Stir the solution periodically to prevent acid buildup and metal corrosion.
Brass will turn pink when tested with hydrochloric acid and will come to resemble pure copper as acid removes the zinc.
Because this is a corrosive test, use the acid sparingly and only on a small area of the metal.
Aside from abstract patterns, early candlesticks took on the shapes of humans and animals and are sought after by collectors today.
For example, dolphin candlesticks were produced in several colors in the mid-19th Century.
Remove encrustations by soaking the metal object in a solution of 5 to 10 percent citric acid.
Lesley Graybeal has been writing articles for internet content since 2006.