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Chemically colouring metal

I have designed a pendant for a friend and now for the first time
since college I have a need to chemically blacken the resesses of a
silver item.

I don’t remember what we used to use at college for this process -
just that it was a liquid solution kept in an airtight and darkened
bottle. I do remember that it smelt like rotten eggs.

The catalogue for my local jewellers supply store listed “Jax Silver
Blackener” and “liver of sulphur” for these purposes. I phoned the
store and they don’t currently have any Jax Silver Blackener in stock
and they don’t sell liver of sulphur anymore. After finding this out
I started pawing through my books and found quite a few listings of
different solutions that can be used on different metals to acheive
particular colours. Most of the solutions had chemicals as
components that I have never heard of before and probably couldn’t
purchase. I noticed that several of them had vinegar, salt or
ammonia as components…

I ended up finding a listing of “bleach” for creating a grey colour
on silver. Given that I had nothing else I could work with until
the new stock of Jax Silver Blackener comes in I thought I’d put
some test pieces into bleach and see just what happened. The colour
I found got darker the longer I left it and for my purposes (just
wanting to darken the resesses) it will do the job fine.

I was surprised to find such a simple solution to my problem and
wanted to post about it for two reasons:

  1. In case others aren’t aware of this one and it may be useful to
    them

  2. To ask if anyone out there in orchid land knows of any other
    solutions for colouring metal that can be made up using household
    products/items that you can purchase from your local supermarket.

Thanks,
RR Jackson

RR Jackson,

Next time, try placing a sliced in half hard boiled egg along with
your piece in a plastic bag and leave it for some time. The longer
the darker.

HTH
Terrie

    Next time, try placing a sliced in half hard boiled egg along
with your piece in a plastic bag and leave it for some time. The
longer the darker. 

That would bea sulfur fume.

Reactive Metals Studio, Inc.
PO Box 890 * Clarkdale, AZ 86324
Ph-928/634-3434 * Ph-800/876-3434 * Fax-928/634-6734
E-mail- @Michele_Deborah_Bill
Catalog- www.reactivemetals.com

    Next time, try placing a sliced in half hard boiled egg along
with your piece in a plastic bag and leave it for some time. The
longer the darker. 

This is true - and I’ve found it works best if the egg is warm. If
it’s not, just throw it into the microwave for a few seconds. And if
you squash the yolk into the piece (yucky to clean, but not
difficult–just rinse), the oxidation is more controllable and is
super quick.

-Christine
Wrapped Rocks Jewelry