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"Antiquing" gold

Have any of you found anything long lasting to use to antique (blacken) recessed areas of a gold ring? One that’s worn every day?

The black antiquing that’s sold is just fast drying black paint, I’m looking for something better.

I’ve used black rhodium but that’s not black enough, it’s sort of grey/black. There used to be a product called Chem-blak, which was a baked on paint, that lasted pretty well. But that no longer seems to be available. If you’re old enough you may remember that velvety black finish that was on the lion head rings in the 80’s. That was an electroplated finish I think? But I’m not sure anymore. I’ve often thought that there must be some paint available that would last…I mean look how long car paint stays on.

Anyway, I’m looking for something that’s a flat velvety black that’s also long lasting. If I can’t find a better antiquing option I may inlay black jet from underneath? But that is not really in this guys budget.


It doesn’t strictly address your question, and I’m skipping ahead in my own jewelry gallery chronology, but one of the things I like doing for this effect is overlaying gold on sterling, and then applying liver of sulfur:




I usely use pariser oxid which is a combination of chemical fluids creating a nice black layer.
It’s more resistant as LOS to my opinion.

Another product to consider is from the Legor.Group.
It’s called Kliar nano cermacis E-coating available from Rio Grande If you live in America.

Feel free to buy wherever you want.
Maybe one of these products will serve you to get you where you want.

Good luck.

I use the Kliar E coatings almost daily. The black is not a dark black more of a dark charcoal gray. It is a futsy process and takes time and practice to perfect. along with $500 to $1000 worth of equipment and supplies. It is durable but not easy.

Back in the 70s we used to use both black paint or a plating solution that
left a dark patina. It wasn’t a true black but more of a dark smutty brown.
We used it mostly on floral motif rings They were pretty popular back then.
Think a rustic shank wth a rose on the top with the petals holding a
diamond. The recesses were dark and the high spots were a soft highlighted
finish. We use to rub baking soda on the highlights to get that soft
finish. We also used iodine, but it gave moe of an orange-ish brown color.
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
-Jo Haemer

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I was working in a jewelry store many years ago and they used black flat Rustoleum paint for Gold. It actually worked very well and seemed to be really durable.

Hi There, I was thinking that you could try as an experiment ceramic paints that folks use on glass and dishes. They need to be baked in an oven and are not expensive. Maybe they might work on your gold? They are hard and durable.

The best product by far that I have ever seen/used is XL Gel–a form of liver of sulfur which is extremely concentrated and has an endless shelf life! I got mine from Rio.

As with all chemical processes, it is important how you do it. For a lasting patina, you need several thin layers rather than a thick single layer. I brush with a glass brush after rinsing for each layer. It evens out the color and helps the next layer to go on well.

Janet in Jerusalem

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Hi Janet,

I love XL Gel; I use it all the time for overlay work, and for giving character to hammer-textured surfaces. Its shelf life is excellent as well compared to normal liver of sulfur. But it won’t work on gold, or at least not on high karat gold.


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Liver of sulfur usually works with gold if you put some iron in it…:-)… If I am doing a piece of say 18K yellow gold and I want a black background, I use silver for the part I want black…Of course, that wouldn’t work for your hammer-textured surfaces…

Janet in Jerusalem

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Thank you all for taking the time to reply. I know that antiquing gold is an outdated finish. While I present all the options with my recommendations, ultimately my job is to give people what they want. If they’re happy then I’m happy.

The beauty of gold is it doesn’t want to oxidize, a beautiful thing unless you want it oxidized.

Ideally I’d copper or silver plate only the recessed areas and oxidize that. You’ve shared some great ideas. Helpful to me as well as others. I’m still thinking about it. Maybe black rhodium then the flat black paint over that. Hmmm.
Thanks again!

A lot of folks who make coin rings, as I do, are powder coating as a more durable patina. They dip or brush on the powder coat and bake it on, then sand and buff down to reveal the details and leave a nice polished finish on the powder coat.


That’s something I’ve never heard of. I mean I’ve heard of powder coating but not applied to jewelry. Would you search auto body supply? It might be a good solution. I was thinking of enameling but need flat black.

Hi Max,
Nitric acid , lightly heated works well (sold as antiquing solution through Rio & others. it reacts quickly if iron or steel is present (like applying the solution with a small wire brush)
It depends on the karat too, it’s the copper that’s oxidizing, so14K gets darker then 18k (yellows) red/rose golds oxidize very well.
My thoughts,

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Hi Mark, has products and videos/info. You can apply the powder coating in a number of ways and cure in a (dedicated) toaster oven. It’s pretty cool.


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Great! Thanks.
Appreciate everyone’s helpful ideas.

By the way Pam, I like your shop! I’m in the same boat of having a working shop that I’m not quite settled with. It was very helpful to see yours.

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Pam is correct, there are also multiple textures available,
Surface must be super clean for it to stick right.
The material can be both polished, and / or matted with an airbrush shooting talcum powder or VERY fine glass bead media.

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