Antique Your Stampings – How to Oxidize Metals

Learn How to Oxidize Your Metal Findings

Learn How to Oxidize Your Metal Findings

Did you ever wonder how jewelry gets that faint, slightly antiqued look? Did you know you can do it yourself.
Try this on small piece before you work on your best jewelry.

What is Oxidation?
It is a chemical reaction where metals is deliberately tarnished or slightly discolored, leaving a patina (finish). It gives the metal that vintage look. Most often oxidation is used to bring out the details of a metal tag, pendant, so that you may see better the details of letters of designs.

How do you oxidize?

Eggs, The Environmentally Friendly Oxidizer

Eggs, The Environmentally Friendly Oxidizer

One of the easiest ways is to use eggs and they are positively environmentally friendly. (Yes eggs!) The sulfur in the egg yolk can give you the vintage effect. Try this first on your small piece. Generally for a couple of pendants, 2 eggs should be sufficient.  (You can stop the process at any point you like the patina you have achieved.)

Boil 2 eggs
Place the pendants in a ziplock bag.
Add the eggs and mash them up.  (If you do not want the pendants and squashed eggs to mix together, put the pendants in a small mesh bag.)
Now wait.  (Do not eat the eggs.)
Sorry VenetianBeadShop does not sell or ship eggs. :>)

Depending on the level of patina you want, will determine the length of time. Even leaving them overnight. (If you want to rush the process, you can microwave for about 10-15 seconds to get the eggs hot which releases the sulfur.)  Wash your jewelry with soap and water when you are done.

If the egg method is too messy for you, maybe Liver of Sulfur is for you.

Liver Sulfur

Liver Sulfur

Liver of Sulfur – What is it?
It is a mixture of potassium sulfide, potassium polysulfide, potassium thiosulfate and potassium bisulfide. Each manufacturer has their own recipe. (Why it is called Liver, I have yet to determine.)

Hazardous: You will need to use more caution.
Liver of Sulfur comes in a liquid and paste, a rock or crystal form. The crystal form has a short shelf life, whereas the liquid or paste have a longer one. The crystal (lump) form is also flammable.

  • Keep away from children or animals
  • Wear rubber gloves
  • Avoid spills, avoid getting in your eyes, wearing goggles is advised.
  • Use only in a well ventilated room
  • Be sure the item you want to oxidize is clean. Dropping the pieces into hot water not only help clean them, but the heated pieces will take the color faster.
  • Follow the directions on the liver sulphur. It will work best if the water you use is hot.
  • Use a plastic or wooden stick to mix the liver of sulphur with the water.
  • Insert your metal into the mixture.
  • Wait a few minutes – watch as it changes colors and when you are happy with the patina, remove it, be sure you have the gloves on. (Remove with a plastic spoon or tongs.)
  • Rinse the item thoroughly and let it dry.
  • Finally, polish the pieces. There are multiple ways to polish, steel wool, brass brush. Be sure to use the brass brush wet, so you don’t leave marks.

Cautions: Do not use reuse the container for any edible products. Mark it Liver of Sulfur – so no one accidentally uses it. For the full list of Warnings required by law of our Liver of Sulfur gel can be read here. Fine Print

For proper environmentally correct disposal of liver of sulfur, read the label on your liver of sulfur, some are easily neutralized with baking soda, but as each manufacturer has slightly ingredients, it is best to read the label.

You can use this on all copper or silver, fine and sterling and it also works on Precious Metal Clay (PMC). Copper will change color more quickly than silver.

This is not an exact science and the outcome will vary each time – depending on the strength of the liver of sulfur, heat of the water, minerals in the water and your attitude (not altitude). Just give it a try and have fun.

 

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