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It’s a very simple question but I want to ask about Patina

I used to go every time to get my pieces oxidized after finish my jewelry , there is a guy who helps me to polish my multiple jewelry ( when I don’t have enough time especially if I have to take my orders to the post office ) and sometime for special details on a piece I was getting help to darken some parts.

But I really want to do it myself not to pay extra and I want to ask what brand of patina do you use ? Or generally how do you prepare it ?


Look at liver of sulfur LOS) first, but there are several patina options available. I don’t darken much of my jewelry, but when I do, I use LOS, remove what I want removed and then often tumble in stainless steel shot for a short time. The shot seems to even out the finish and leaves it with a satin type finish rather than the duller finish of raw LOS. It isn’t hard to do, but it is smelly, so plan and doing your initial application of LOS outside. Take a look in the archives, you will find a lot of information about how to patina metal. Good luck…Rob


The important things about patinas on silver - the metal must be very clean of dirt and grease, including finger prints. I find it works best when the silver has a “tooth” - sand blasting leaves a tooth, so do scotch brite pads, and rotary abrasive wheels. I mostly just tumble my pieces in a mild abrasive which leaves them really clean and short of shiny. I apply LOS room temperature.
Judy H


The problem with solid LOS is that it loses potency in time. I solved that problem with LOS Gel (more like the consistency of syrup). Got it at RG several years ago. Still works well and has lasted all this time.

Heat the water and add a few drops of the gel, stir to mix. Add more gel for faster, darker action. This is not rocket science. Drop in your silver and watch for the darkness you want, then pull it out and rinse. To make removal easy and to keep my delicate fingers out of the hot LOS solution, I drilled holes in a small plastic container, which is submerged in the LOS. Easy to lift the little container out and quickly rinse.

As Rob says, tumble the piece(s) in stainless steel shot. In my experience, if the piece was polished before applying the patina, that smooth finish remains after tumbling. The color remains dark. If you want a matt finish, do as Judy Hoch suggests. In most things, I bow to Judy H - she is an incredible and knowledgeable art jeweler!

Judy in Kansas where the rains have brought a welcome break in the 100+ degree heat.


About Liver of Sulfur

• Liver of sulfur (LOS) is relatively innocuous.

• It does generates fumes, so active ventilation is imperative.

• Wear rubber, latex, or nitrile gloves when handling it, or use nonreactive tweezers (stainless steel, bamboo, or plastic). LOS smells like rotten eggs, and will make your ungloved hands smell like that, too.

•LOS is one of the more benign patina chemicals.

• LOS is packaged in three different forms: as chunks, as a gel, or in solution.

• I use the chunks which retain their strength longer than the solution. (I have no experience using the gel.)

How to Use Liver of Sulfur Chunks

• Drop a chunk of LOS into hot water in a small nonreactive (stainless steel or Pyrex) bowl.

• LOS works best when it’s hot, so you can also use a stainless steel pot and heat it on a hotplate.


(It doesn’t need to be boiling, just hot… and ventilate, ventilate, ventilate)

• The color of the solution should be a deep yellow, about like the color of an egg yolk.

(When I’m finished applying this solution I can store it for several days and re-use it)

• Drop a degreased metal object in the hot LOS solution. I generally warm the object under hot running water and then drop it in the LOS.

• Remove the object after a few seconds, either with gloved hands or tweezers.

Rinse the object in hot running water and re-immerse it in the solution.

• Repeat this procedure until the patina pleases you.

• Rinse the object in hot water with a little dishwashing liquid.

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I’ve found that the patina result is much better when the surface of the metal being patinated is able to reflect light through the patina. So, no tooth.

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Interesting. I use Black Max from Rio Grande, and apply it with a tooth pick to the areas I want black. If I want it not to be matte, I use the extra fine green radial bristle discs in my flex shaft to polish it up with out removing it.


No one specifically pointed out that liver of sulfur, LOS, is a chemical and you need to wear a mask as well as gloves when you work with it. You don’t want to be breathing it long-term. I was told by an expert to keep the temperature around 140° for the best results, no hotter and no cooler.


You can ask for an MSDS for the specific product that you are working with so that you will know the potential danger in using it. When I use LOS, I do it outside with gloves on. I have a little sealed kit that I take outside before I open it. Then I only take the piece of jewelry back into the house to finish it. The kit stays outside to dispose of the LOS solution and rinse water. When it is dry, I seal it up and bring it back in. This is all mainly because others complain about the smell if I don’t follow this procedure…Rob


I think that experience with metal clay and patinas is different from fabricated mill product. Metal clay after sintering still is a bit porous and will react to patinas more readily.
In any case, I strongly suggest using LOS at room temperature. Much less odor and fume. It takes longer but is more controllable and if used with a bit of household ammonia is more durable.



Another useful tip is to finish the patinaed areas with renaissance wax to seal it in x


I patina most of my work just bc I like it with the style I usually make. Usually just enough to darken voids to highlight everything else. I experimented with the various forms of LOS with moderate success so I kept looking. I found a product called Win-Ox that I’ve found the best yet. It used to be a liquid in its original form but since being reintroduced after being discontinued for a time, the original formula was preserved but now shipped as a powder that requires the addition of muriatic acid to activate it. I’ve been using it for about a year now and I love it.


I use to use liver of sulphur, but started looking for something less expensive. For over five years I have been using sulphur-based bar soap. I just put my pieces in a glass dish, pour water over the metal until it is submerged, put the soap into the dish and brush it with an old toothbrush until the water is very cloudy from the soap. I then leave it overnight. If you’re impatient, pour boiling water over the metal before soaping and a nice dark patina will form in just a few minutes. When finished, the soapy water can just be poured down the drain. A bar lasts me about as long as two bottles of LOS from Michael’s, and a 3-pack of the soap on Amazon runs $8.00 or so. You can get an idea of the color on my latest piece at:


I use the Midas brand liver of sulfur, similar process to the above posts, follow all the safety precautions etc. and follow it up with microcrystalline wax. I use renaissance wax but it smells just like car wax so when I run out I’ll probably buy that next time.

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I use LOS (Midas) on many of my pieces. I love the highlights it creates. My life changed when I discovered a product called Hone & Highlight. I make my pieces completely black, then run it in the tumbler with the H&H and they come out with a beautiful matte finish. Some pieces are finished after running for 20 min, and there are others I have left in for 2 hours. It all depends on the finish you desire. If you want a little more shine, you can then run it though with some stainless steel shot for a bit. It has saved me so much vs hand-polishing!


Hone and highlight uses silicon carbide abrasive. It is intended for finishing stainless steel and is far to abrasive for silver or copper. It is promoted because folks don’t have vibratory tumblers that use an appropriate abrasive for precious metals. A $95 vibratory tumbler and a medium or fine abrasive would smooth or remove excess LOS nicely and leave metal that doesn’t tarnish quickly. My not humble opinion. Judy H


LOS is potassium sulfide. It will oxidize slowly and lose it’s potency as it turns into potassium sulfate. the addition of a neutral antioxidant such as sodium citrate in a very small amount will prolong it’s life… flower of sulfur would do the same and will also blacken silver … it’s insoluble and will float on top of a solution of LOS…you can use an eye dropper to suck up the LOS without the sulfur.


I have no experience of it myself but the college recommend a product called platinol I think. Not sure if that’s a uk brand name though.


I recall a situation where was outside, using LOS heated…I was submerging the piece…then dunking…

the LOS patina flaked off…I was thinking the LOS was too hot…?..

do you all think this was due to the solution being too very hot?..


A too-thick coating of LOS (or electroplating) may flake off. Multiple thin coats followed by brushing in soapy running water with a soft-brass (plater’s) brush, followed by repeat coatings and brushing seems to work much better for me.

A very high temperature probably just led to a faster thick coating, which is the real problem, not the temperature.

Neil A

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