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Nitric Acid for Sterling Silver Etching

I do a lot of copper etching and have recently learned how
relatively low tech, silver etching is as well. At the center where I
learned, the instructor used the diluted Nitirc acid that Rio sells.
By the time I pay almost $20 for a pint and then pay $20 to $30 (at
least that’s what they state in the catalog) for hazardous shipping,
I really can’t afford to do the process. Not that I particularly want
to deal with diluting concentrated Nitric Acid, but as a former
laboratory worker I know how to do it and I know that a large bottle
of concentrated is only $24 at the local chemical distributor (picked

I understand that I need some sort of permit to prove to homeland
security that I’m not making bombs with it to be able to buy it. Does
any one know the process? The Homeland Security web site seems to be
silent on this issue (or the info is well hidden).

Also, is there a reasonable source for diluted nitric in, or near

I understand that etching silver can be done w/ ferric nitrate, but
have heard that there is the same Homeland security issue with this
stuff as well.

Any info on etching silver on a relatively small and economical
scale would be greatly appreciated.

the Eclectic Metalsmith

I purchased several bottle of acid last year at a supply firm here
in North Carolina. I didn’t have any problems. I told them the name
of my company and they shipped it to my business address. If you are
having them mail it to your home and don’t have a tax number, then
perhaps you will have problems. You might try talking to your local
friendly pharmicist, he might be able to get it for you. I use a
compounding pharmicist here in town to get things for me sometimes
just to save the hassle and the shipping.

Good luck

uh, i don’t want anything to do with homeland security or its
(frivoulous ridiculous self-serving money wasting) rules…all i know
is there’s a guy on ebay that sells it dry by the pound for, i think
i paid about 4 bucks and reasonable shipping via usps…he has a
store in the coins and metals section, and if i can find the receipt
i’ll send his user id to you…but if you look it up i’m sure he still
has it on sale as his store is ongoing…i was amazed that after years
of buying tiny bottles from thunderbird supply, this man had it for
gold reclaimation purposes…so if you type in gold reclaimation it’s
likely his store will come up…good luck.