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Patination on 10K or 12K yellow gold

Hello,
My question is:
Can a blackened patina be achieved on either 12K or 10K yellow gold?
For a commission I’m making a belt buckle and need to make the background behind raised Greek letters dark so the letters will pop.
I’m hoping the copper in the alloy will react to the patina.
Any thoughts?
Thanks, Taf Schaefer

While low-karat golds will respond better to patination than higher-karat alloys, it will still be difficult to get a good black. One trick you can use to get around this is to purposely contaminate some well-used (blue) pickle solution with iron or steel. This is normally to be avoided, but in this case dipping your gold in the contaminated solution will coat it with a thin layer of copper, which is easy to blacken with patina chemicals. Once that’s done, you can buff off the high spots to reveal the gold.

Dear Awerby,
Thanks so much for the advice. I’ll try that.
Taf

I got the black on this butterfly by gently rubbing the piece with 0000 steel wool while in pickle (which deposited copper). Then I used LOS to darken the whole piece, and finally buffed it with ZAM to remove the copper.

I may be naive but why not make the back from sterling and sweat solder on the gold lettering. Then patina w/LOS. A side benefit is that it is less expensive and your client may want to save some money, particularly when no one will know gold is the background.

Hi James,
Thats a very good idea for another buckle. But my design is more complicated and needs to be cast. And, the blackened part is surrounded by a wide gold trim to match other traditional work within the fraternity’s symbolism.
Thanks, Taf

Thanks for the advice. That’s 2 for using pickle for a copper plating. I’ll need to buy regular pickle to give it a try. My customer doesn’t need the buckle for a few months so I’ve got time to experiment.
Thanks all, Taf

I don’t know if it will work for you, but I’ve had good results with my gold patina by touching a bit of iron wire to the gold while the patina formula is on there. I’m not sure what I’m using, the label is no longer on the bottle, but it is something like black max.

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I don’t know if it will work for you, but I’ve had good results with my gold patina by touching a bit of iron wire to the gold while the patina formula is on there. I’m not sure what I’m using, the label is no longer on the bottle, but it is something like black max.
[/quote]

Wow Ben, so many great ideas!
Thanks, Taf
.

‏The standard sulphur blackeners will blacken gold if iron is added. Perhaps the easiest way is to put an iron nail in the solution.

Janet in Jerusalem

Thanks Janet. Your idea solidifies the other kind member’s’ suggestions
Taf