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Dec 27, 2008 12:49 PM

Mauviel iron handles quality control question

Good afternoon, sorry to create yet another copper topic.

I got a beautiful Mauviel copper saute pan from my girlfriend for Christmas, the 3.2 quart "professional" series of SS lined copper, 2.5 mm thick, with cast iron handles. While I haven't used the pan yet, I did inspect it carefully after cleaning it by hand and I noticed that the handle has numerous small patches of discoloured areas.

While the bulk of the handle is a mottled gray colour that is smooth and not-that-cold to the touch (suggesting an epoxy or clear-coating on the iron), there are spots on the handle that have a rough texture and are a dark brown colour. There are numerous small spots like this on the handle proper, but the biggest spots are on the base of the handle where it is bolted to the pan. The largest spot is 1 cm by 0.5 cm.

Naturally, my concern is that these are spots of rust showing in a brand new and unused pan. I have never read any concerns previously about the cast-iron handled copper pans being susceptible to rust or that they require any special treatment.

Does it sound to anyone else like this is something concerning? Should I ask the original vendor to exchange it, or is this a normal patina to be found on the Mauviel products? I sent the vendor an e-mail asking their opinion and today I went to another local store that sells the same products and did not find this pattern on any other pans. My vendor, however, has not written back due to the holiday in Canada yesterday and now the weekend. Any advice would be fantastic, thanks!

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  1. It's normal. The handles will rust with time, and as you use them, it'll develop patterns. Your spots may simply be from someone with wet or sweaty hands having held the pot by the handle, either while inspecting it, or holding it while deciding on a purchase.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ThreeGigs

      Thanks ThreeGigs! It's my first piece of genuinely professional cookware, and I'm just a college kid, so I can never be too protective.

    2. I have the same pan, in the next larger size, purchased in France 3-4 years ago. I noticed a bit of rust on the handle, early on, probably because I didn't dry the handle thoroughly after washing.

      Your pan is not defective. I was able to contact a Mauviel executive, by Email, and was advised to season the handle, in the same manner one seasons a cast-iron skillet.

      I covered the handle with a generous coating of Crisco, put the pan in the oven on high heat for an hour (this will not damage the pan if the cooking surface is stainless steel, not tin), let the pan cool, wiped the handle with a cloth, repeated the process, let it cool a second time, and I have had no rust since.

      I suggest you try this approach. There's nothing wrong with your pan, it's the nature of cast-iron, and by the way, I can't think of a nicer gift. These pans are heavy to lift, hard to keep looking new, but they're the highest quality cookware in the world, impossible to wear out, something to treasure for generations. Like most people, you may soon wish to acquire more Mauviel copper. Best wishes.

      1. One other small point about the cast iron handles - if you use a copper cleaner such as Twinkle or Wright's on your pan, be sure to rinse the area where the iron handle joins the copper pan very well with very hot water. Those copper cleaners are a mixture of a salt and an acid (which is why rubbing a pan with salt and lemon will clean the copper) and they like to work their way into that seam, where they will raise rust like mad if left to fester.