Brass inlay in sterling needs more contrast

Have a brass inlay in a sterling silver ring. It needs more contrast either chemical or mechanical. Thanks for any help.


There are special darkeners/patinas for brass. Here’s a link to one I have used, there are others:

A matt finish allows you to see more contrast than metal that shines.

Baldwin’s Patina, from @ReactiveMetals world well when you want to make silver contrast with a copper alloy.
Cynthia Eid

i dont know if this would work, but maybe engraving bordering the
inlay? or perhaps frosting the brass? ive no experience with this
combination of metals, so i do not know if this would be of any help.

Could you post a few photos so we can see the existing piece?
What is the contrast you want to see?
Light/dark, color, other?
I use these materials all the time for prototyping so I may have some suggestions if I have a better sense of what you’re after.

Till the photos turn up, heres something for you.
As one pro to another, the more specific oxidising agent for brass and other non ferrous metals is selenium sulfide.
came by it at a brass bed stead makers . Use that instead of flowers of sulphur.

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Hello Cynthia, Sorry it took so long to get back to you. Can you paint around the brass with fingernail polish? If so, you can then put a drop of iodine on the brass, wait until it darkens and then rinse and remove the polish. Have fun, tom

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I’m reluctant to use chemical means for this effect as they can too easily be worn off a polished surface by ordinary wear and tear - especially on a ring. You could get a textural contrast between the brass and silver if you used an etchant like ferrous sulphate which will act on copper but not on silver to leave a matte surface on the brass while leaving the silver untouched and polished. I’d do a little experimentation with varying times and concentrations to get desired effect. Too much etching might strip away too much of the brass or texture it too coarsely, but a surface just microscopically pitted would show as matte and, if you used a chemical colourant it would be less likely to wear off the pitted surface . The etchant is available and cheap at electronic supply places (i.e. Radio Shack) where they use it for etching copper circuit boards

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Correction- I think I should have said ferric chloride - You better check before taking my word for it because I’m not in my shop now where I keep the stuff.