Liver of Sulphur toxic gases

Just bought some liver of sulphur solution (which includes ammonia
in it). The bottle back says contact with acids will produce toxic
gases. Is this a reference to any acid left from pickling? Do I need
to treat my pieces fi rst before oxidising or will just a simple rinse
with tap water do after pickling? If so how? (boiling water and
baking soda???) Thanks so much

London, UK

rinsing is okay, though the liver of sulfur will take better if you
scrub it a bit. i use pumice, but you could use a brass brush or
whatever you like to use.

As far as the fumes - that is with the liver of sulfur itself. it can
make you realllllly nauseous, and some other random things, there
should be a warning on the container. The reason I know it will make
you nauseous is that I was working with it for about 30 minutes in a
not-quite-good-enough ventilated area and i had to go outside for a
while b/c I felt so sick, I think I got a headache too. Granted,
most of the time when you (I) use it you put it in a container with a
lid and just let it soak for a few seconds/minutes. This particular
time though, I had been brushing it on certain areas of a several
pieces and ignored all warnings of the fumes. No more! Well
ventilated, or outside area, don’t keep your nose over it for any
period of time, that’s my advice anyway.


I feel that I must come in on this one, I use liver of sulphur
ie:Potassium Sulphide to obtain the wonderful iridescent colours when
brushed onto clean silver and plunged into clean water as soon as the
shade required is reached.

I drop a few chips of the sulphur into a jar containing only a
desert spoon of water, it will dissolve in a couple of minutes this
has a shelf life of only 12 hours after which it will not give
instant bright results. In view of this I am completely mystified as
to why you say you have purchased it in solution?

The addition of ammonia will extend the life a little but I have
never added it.

The warning on the bottle to keep it away from acids is to my mind
is one of those obvious things that you would not do anyway.

For the best colouring results make sure you do not touch the
surface to be treated with your fingers as the slight amount of
grease will spoil the results,

best of luck.


If acids are added to any of the polysulphides the result will be
that hydrogen sulphide gas (rotten eggs) will be emitted and this is
only slightly less toxic than hydrogen cyanide. The polysulphides are
quickly oxidised to sulphates on exposure to air. One of the
efficient sulphiding liquids is ammonium polysulphide, and a small
addition of ammonia (ammonium hydroxide) may help to inhibit
oxidation of the of the others a little. Do use the sulphides with
good ventilation and work quickly.

Cheers for now,
John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua, Nelson NZ

I only use this colouring on pendants and protect the finish with
hard drying car wax which can be buffed to a good shine when dry. I
find that although it looks fabulous on rings it wears off in about
a week.

Yes I use a soft tooth brush with liquid soap to clean up after the