Back patina

I have tried a number of times using various products to get an even
black patina on sterling. When dipping the piece into Midas Black or
Griffith Silver Black, a ring of another color (white or green)
sometimes appears by the time the piece is dry. Liver of sulfur is
too brown.

The piece is about 3" in size and domed and it has been cleaned well
before trying to patina. Would greatly appreciate any insight here.
Thank you.

Liane Redpath


I use liver of sulfur all the time for my black pieces, and they come
out great. I do use renaissance wax or some sort of wax afterwards to
“hydrate” it. But it does come out black black, not brown black or
blue black… Is your solution strong enough? Hot enough? LoS new
enough? All these things will make a difference in your end result.

We keep it going throughout the day in a beaker on a coffee mug
warmer. We’ve even used it the following day and it’s still strong.

I don’t like to use the silver blacks as some customers have a
reaction to it and they tend to turn funny colors from any
impurities in the cast metal after a few weeks. Even on pieces that
weren’t worn, my samples were getting orange spots.

Amery Carriere Designs

Liane, You should probably never allow the patina solution to dry on
the metal. That is true with the patinas we supply. Rinse well, blow
dry or use a hair drier. The Antique Patina we have turns most
nonferrous metals very black. You might also find products at a gun
shop. They usually sell a line of patinas for restoration.


Bill, Deborah, Michele & Sharon
Reactive Metals Studio, Inc


It sounds like you are having a secondary chemical reaction…where
is the coloration?.. seams or broad surface? Liver of sulphur should
give you a deep charcoal black on clean metal. I’ve used the
Giffith’s with satisfactory effect on smaller objects but I am not
fond of it. What is the finish on it? What are the steps you are
doing in your attempts?


Yes gun shops are a great place for blue, black and brown patinas but
the often are for steel only AND many if not most are products
utilizing solinic acid (made from/with selenium). The patinas are
VERY stable, can be produce to be near transparent (the patina is NOT
transparent but a light reaction can look a bit so) to some of the
most dense and stable black available. Birchwood Casey is one of the
main manufacturers of these patinas and the wholesale only (5 gal min
at about $150.00/gallon) so the little bottles in guns stores or from
Sculpt Nouveau

are repackaged from these larger containers. The patina lasts and
lasts, so do not throw it out once used, if you get some. BC sells
mostly to industrial mfgrs. but it is available to “small users” in
the art and jewelry trade. We used to use liver of S before we got
the BC black and brown for use in the foundry (we use it on Cynthia’s
bronzes). We still have some liver and we use it once in a while, but
the BC product is easier, really black, and stable once on the piece
(liver of S can/does get darker with time). Do not let the BC
products dry on the piece. With most other patinas (on the bronzes)
we do let the patina dry. We also use Renaissance Wax for all of our
waxing. VERY good wax but it is expensive and can be difficult to
find. If a piece is finely textured, all other waxes we have tried,
turn withe in the texture “pits”. Renaissance Wax does not!!! We
have an “OtterLady” bronze and the fur texture was put onto the metal
with a metal threading tap chucked up on a drill and the thread
cutting teeth were used to make a very fine, beautiful “fur” texture
on the piece. Was one of our “experiments” that worked (see Abundance
on these 2 pages - the “OtterWoman” if interested
on page 4 and 5).

Good luck!!!

john dach


I find that metal surfaces that have a “tooth” or some kind of rough
finish will hold an oxidation better than a smooth surface. Try
sandblasting, stippling with a vibratory engraver, “lining” with a
liner graver, use of a diamond bur or sandpaper to roughen the
surface of the metal being darkened.

Jay Whaley


I only use liver of sulfur gel now. It lasts a loooong time in it’s
original container and only needs a drop or two in a small container
of (hot or warm) water. It works faster if the workpiece is heated

Jamie King,

secondary chemical reaction...where is the coloration?... seams or
broad surface 

The white / green secondary reactions were on the interior surface,
not near any seams. Spent part of today trying to get the old patina
out of the inner corners and will give LOS a try altho in the past
my mixtures were not flat in color and tended more towards dark
brown. Perhaps the problem is that it’s been very humid here and I
let the piece air dry and it didn’t dry fast enough. Will use a
dryer this go around.

Have never checked out the gun shops for patinas but appreciate this
input. I am already a user of Renaissance Wax.

Thanks everyone for your help.
Liane Redpath

What is liver of sulphur gel called when I go to buy some?

What is liver of sulphur gel called when I go to buy some? 

Otto Frei carries the brand that I use “XL Gel.” I don’t know about
the quality of any of the other brands, but this one works great.

Jamie King,

liver of sulphur gel 

Liver of sulphur gel. Cool Tools | Metal Clay | Polymer Clay | Enameling | Metalsmithing
sells it.


Gel liver of sulphur is available from Cool Tools and is called
Patina Gel I believe.

Try the liver of sulfur gel patina from Cool Tools at

There’s a video at the bottom that show you how to get different
colors including black. Hot water, and let sit. Turned a piece of
mine pitch black. Love it! It’s sooooo easy.