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Liver of sulfur

Hello. I’m new to using Liver of sulfur. I have a few questions. I
love the blackened look before any polishing or tumbling is done. Any
procedure to do to keep that blackened look on sterling silver? Is
this safe next to the skin? Also I had a problem on a LofS patina
hammered sterling cuff. There were some areas that simply didn’t take
while other areas had a nice deep gray/black patina. I ended up
removing all of it with a rubber wheel.


My guess is that if the cuff is hammered then only the low spots
took on theLoS intensely, at least more than the other areas. In my
experience, leaving the piece in longer may help but as soon as you
polish or texture any further, the high spots will become brighter.

As to the other question, as with any finish, with wear the effects
will change. So whilst you might achieve an intense ‘black’, this
will in time rub off. I’ve never tried, but you could give a
lacquered coat a try. Perhaps that would hold the effect longer? E.
g. PermaLac (Rio grande catalog)

Hope this helps…

Hello Joanne,

You asked about LOS, and why some areas of the piece did not accept
the patina. In order for LOS to react with the surface of the metal,
the metal needs to be completely degreased. I use a mild liquid
dishwashing detergent, hot water, and a soft toothbrush to clean the
surface. I then heat the LOS solution (whatever you do, don’t bring
it to a boil. dangerous), and heat the piece in hot water. Dip the
piece in the LOS solution, rinse it in hot water, and repeat until
the desired patina has been achieved.

Hope this is useful,
Linda Kaye-Moses


Scrubbing the silver with pumice will help evenness of LOS patina.

I use Fast Orange, for cleaning grease off of hands, contains
pumice. Use a brass brush either way.

You can use this to remove patina if you are not happy with the

A “problem” with LOS is the chemistries tend to keep on working so
things will get darker and darker. There are other blackening
chemistries that really stop working when washed. Theere are a
number of blackening formulas on the marker and I am sure ther are
folks who like/lovethem all as others who have some ill thoughts
about them. I am really a sculpture foundry person, did my wife’s
works as well as for a few other folks. I used Birchwood Casey
products (they are all Selenic acid formulas) and liked the black
blacks and the brown browns. The patinas were relatively tough but
all patina colorations will rub off in jewelry, especially rings.
The only way to get a somewhat lasting patina, especially on a ring
or other item that get a lot of “buffing” ware, is to clear coat the
item. AND again, , there are aLOT of different clear coats. In
jewelry a thin coting is usually preferred but there are catalized
clear urthaine coatings that are extreamly tough, but they tend to
be thicker. Ease of application, ease of refinishing, cost,
longevity, skin contact issues (if any), and on and on. There are
laquers epecially formulated for copper alloys, there are also
special formulations that are “common” in the jewelry industry. One
could even consider clear powder coating, but again this is a
relatively thick coating but it is very abrasive resistant. Do some
research, look about on the web, ask folks (like here) and see what
you end up with. I do not often just come out and give a person a/my
recomendation as there are different things important to different
folks. If I know really what a person is haveing a problem with (the
piece itself) potential suggestions are often fewer just because
ofthe layout of the item. For bronzes, I rarely apply a sprayed on
clear coat as it changes the looks of the patina, sometimesseverely,
so normally I use very high grade specalized paste waxes. A small
pot of wax, a brush, a polishing cloth and instructions are given
with any piece sold. Hope this at least gives you some food for
thought. John DachMLCE. net Hi,

Hello Joanne, redux,

Sorry, I did forget to add that, once you have achieved the desired
patina, you will need to remove it from the high spots, without
removing it from the recesses. I do this using a 100% cotton dress
glove (though any soft cotton fabric will do). I put the glove on
and dip a finger into a little olive or other vegetable oil, and
then into a very little bit of extra fine pumice powder (from
woodworker’s suppliers). Then I gently rub across the piece to
remove patination from the high spots. Rinse in dishwashing liquid
and warm water. I then go over the piece with a Sunshine Cloth, or
other jewelry finishing cloth.

The pumice/oil step does the hard work without removing the finish
you have already achieved prior to patinating. The Sunshine Cloth
would do the same thing, but it would take a little more elbow
grease, and is a more expensive process using up the SC very

Hope this works for you,
Linda K-M

Joanne & Linda,

I was using liver of sulfur just about as described, but recently
began using it differently.

Using a flat soft artist brush, about 3/8 in wide, dip it in the
Liver of Sulfur, just the small amount on the brush gets mixedin with
no more than an ounce of water. With a torch, heat the metal just to
the point that it is uncomfortable to touch. Now with the brush,
almost dry (important) so as not to cool the metal, paint it on. Can
do the entire piece or just a specific area. I am getting a very even
black color, which can be adjusted in depth by buffing. Hope this is

Mike Brenner

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