I fell in love with Katherine Palochek’s cuff keum boo bracelet.
That must have been snapped up in a hurry. The iridescent patina on
the silver, is that liver of sulpher? Thanks for such a great forum.
I fell in love with Katherine Palochek’s cuff keum boo bracelet.
Thank you for your nice comment about the keum-boo bracelet.
Actually, it’s still hanging around. The $638 retail price tag is
considered to be too expensive for “just silver”. It’s also on the
large size, to fit a man or a very statuesque lady.
The patina is liver of sulfur, with the addition of salt and
ammonia, combined with a particular sequence of hot and cold dips. An
old Zuni man taught it to me years ago. Actually, it’s very easy,
taking longer to explain than to do it. It is really nice for
textured pieces, like torch texture, reticulation and keum-boo. The
gold is less reactive than silver (copper or brass), so it takes up
very little of the patina and remains bright.
If there is a significant interest in the formula, perhaps Hanuman
wouldn’t mind publishing it in his Ganoksin Library?
I would be very interested in the formula – I love working with
patinas and that one sounds gorgeous!
Handcrafted and Unique Artisan Jewelry
I just found this http://www.ganoksin.com/orchid/palo.htm If that’s
the iridescent patina referenced earlier, Katherine, then I, too, am
interested in the process and hope you’ll share it with the Orchid
community. The brooch in repousse sterling with the patina is
wonderful, but the patina REALLY snaps overlaying the keum-boo
Hi Katherine, I would absolutely love to have the formula and
directions for the iridescent patina, if you have the time to share
it. I have admired that bracelet for quite some time and have been
too bashful to ask the question, but the subject got the better of
me . All of your pieces in the gallery are fantastic, and I cant take
my eyes off the patterned earrings with the iridescent patina.
What did you use to get the pattern? I have been experimenting with
different patterns, but I can never get any pattern with depth
unless I use screen wire or a metal template. Is it possible to use
such things as cloth, leaves, etc to get patterns.
After you get the correct patina, do you have to cover the coating
with a spray to prevent it from getting darker or oxidizing?
Love and God Bless
If there is a significant interest in the formula, perhaps Hanuman wouldn't mind publishing it in his Ganoksin Library?
Yes, I do agree. It is a wonderful piece. And I ask you on my weeping
knees: Please let us have the recipe. Kind Regards Niels Lovschal,
Hi Katherine, I would absolutely love to have the formula and directions for the iridescent patina, if you have the time to share it.
For all those who wrote to me both on and off list, I will be
sending the formula to Hanuman and Randy Smith. Randy has graciously
volunteered to post it on his website. If you’ve never visited his
website, it’s worth dropping in for a visit at:
http://www.rocksmyth.com If Hanuman deems it worthy, perhaps he will
post it on the Ganoksin website.
...the patterned earrings with the iridescent patina. What did you use to get the pattern? I have been experimenting with different patterns, but I can never get any pattern with depth unless I use screen wire or a metal template. Is it possible to use such things as cloth, leaves, etc to get patterns.
The wave pattern with the keum-boo was produced by a commercially
produced plate by Metaliferrous. They have lots of patterns
available. You can produce your own plates as well out of tool brass
(yellow hard brass) by etching with ferric chloride, and using PnP
patterns produced from your computer or design books. Moire’
patterns, fractals and ding bats are good sources.
In addition, one of my favorites is just plain old cheese cloth that
has been teased apart, just enough that it looks well used, with the
weave being kind of ratty looking. You can use leaves, although
tougher ones hold up better than fragile ones. Use gingko,
eucalyptus, sassafras, etc. Feathers depend on the birds. Songbird
and others that have fragile feathers don’t emboss as well, as say,
grouse or others with strongly structured feathers. All kinds of
cloth, lace and paper can be used. A good one is to use manila file
folders and cut patterns in them, especially with the infamous chads
With all, it is absolutely necessary to have well-annealed metal,
dead soft, to get the best, deepest and crispest impressions. It also
helps on thinner gauges to use sandwich material of red brass or
copper, but using these can take it too deeply with some patterns.
Frank and Sandra Goss have an excellent technical piece on roller
embossing on their website:
After you get the correct patina, do you have to cover the coating with a spray to prevent it from getting darker or oxidizing?
After the patina is very well dried, I put on Renaissance Wax. It
really is the best product. It makes a tough, non-yellowing surface
that doesn’t come off unless through severe abrasion or MEK. It’s
used by museums to preserve everything from parchment to jewelry. It
does dull the finish slightly, so go a little more intense than what
you want for your final finish. If it’s something like a bracelet or
ring, I make something, like guard wires, to prevent natural abrasion
from taking off too much through wear and tear. However, on
reticulatated silver, I don’t, because the eventually wear and tear
highlights the high points, which become bright silver, with a
gradual diminishing of the highlights. Sometimes I even deliberately
’knock-back’ the patina to allow the silver to come through as a
There is some darkening of the finish after several years, but not
like the oxidation you get with normal silver. The addition of the
mordants seem to stabilize it, and even without a protective wax
finish, it doesn’t get the black. However, if when you are originally
taking the patina to black, this black is extremely tough, and has a
lustre that you can’t get with typical oxidizing agents.
I hope this answers your questions. You’re going to have a lot of
fun with that patina. It really changes a piece. Just remember it
looks best on something with texture, and the more texture it has,
the better it looks.
Hi All, Katherine got swamped with requests for her Iridescent
Patina, so I offered to intercede. Please don’t be offended if she
doesn’t have time to answer all your emails, but she thought this
might be faster for all.
I placed the formula on my Web site for all to see, and if you click
on the pictures, you will get the full photograph, approximately 500K
of the piece and a really good close up of what it looks like.
Love and God Bless
Here’s the link to a liver of sulphur patina recipe together with
the article it leads to. I’ve had lots of fun with this - gorgeous
iridescent colours you can control. Only thing I do different is that
I use liquid lime sulphur from a garden centre. I mix up only what I
need for immediate use.
My sincere thanks to Katherine Palochak for her generosity in
putting this info on the web for public use in the first place!!
I've had lots of fun with this - gorgeous iridescent colours you can control. Only thing I do different is that I use liquid lime sulphur from a garden centre.
Thanks, Jane. I’ve been wondering if the garden center variety of
sulfur would produce the same colors. Your comment gives me
encouragement to give it a try–as soon as I can get some from a
I've been wondering if the garden center variety of sulfur would produce the same colors.
Kathy, I’ve had friends order it on-line from garden places. Is that
an option for you?
I’ve been having fun with this too, using a combination of things I
learned from Katherine, Holly Gage, and several others. I’ve added
some of my own experiments too.
One thing I’ve found is that if I lightly hit the piece with a
torch, quench it in the LOS solution, and then get it quickly to the
ice water, I’m much more likely to get the incredible range of
colors. I think the torch firing burns off any finger oils, soaps, or
other contaminants that might be on the piece. After that first
quench I proceed with the progression from hot water, to LOS, to ice
water, and back again until I get where I want to go.
My color progression seems to be different than Katherine listed
however. My work goes in this order: Gold, Bronze, Red, Purple, Blue,
Black. I don’t get green. If I DO get green, it invariably means I
will NOT get red, purple or blue. It goes straight from green to gray
or black. If there is any polish or soap on the piece this is always
what ends up happening, so that may be where the torching is helping.
Also, I’ve found that the more deeply textured a piece is, the less
likely I am to get much of any color. For my work, it seems some area
of flat surface is needed to produce the colors.
Pieces two through seven in my gallery show what I’ve been doing
with the patina. I’m especially happy with how the leaves came out.
I’m also very happy with the color on the opal piece.
Here’s a link: http://www.pameast.net/gallery
I've had friends order it on-line from garden places. Is that an option for you?
Probably Donna, as you know, we’re very familiar with mail order
here in Wyoming. So what are some of the places, please?
However, we’re also getting company coming in from NM, so I’m going
to ask them to stop by IJS or T-bird to get me a can of liver of
sulfur on their way up to visit.
It was so nice speaking with you a couple of weeks ago. Does anyone
have the formula for using the liquid lime sulphur for the patination
of silver. Haven’t had a chance to use the LOS you gave
me, but upon completion of the woven structure will see what happens.
It was so nice speaking with you a couple of weeks ago. Does anyone have the formula for using the liquid lime sulphur for the patination of silver. Haven't had a chance to use the LOS you gave me, but upon completion of the woven structure will see what happens.
Ditto from me to you, Ray. Jane Walker addressed the liquid lime
sulfur in her posting of July 22 on Orchid. I went to her website to
look at her jewelry and she gets a very nice patina with it.
In apprenticing I learned this technique, using Liver of Sulfur and
Ammonia, which produces an amazing array of colors… a chemist may
want to assure us that this is safe before proceeding, as I have not
found this in any texts. I had also been warned that ammonia can
make solder joints brittle so I do not use it for cleaning jewelry,
just for this quick process… is there truth to this danger?
Using Liver of Sulfer diluted in hottest possible tap water (or
microwave water prior to mixing), add a touch of Ammonia (experiment
for varied results). Prepare sterling by cleaning with soapy water
and dry completely with a hairdryer to remove any water staining and
to heat up metal a bit. Dip into Liver of Sulfur/Ammonia solution
repeatedly until colors are as you like, rinse in clear water to stop
process. (I use plastic tweezers to dip.)
Jenn Dewey Designs