Permanent Black

Hi Todd (or anyone who might have an answer for me) I have read
with interest some of your posts on Orchid and thought you
might be able to help with a problem. I need to do some logo
pins that will have a shiny silver border and a domed, brushed
silver inside with a recessed logo. I need to oxidize (or
blacken) that logo with something and still make it possible for
someone to clean the brushed silver when it tarnishes. I am
looking for something that could withstand the silver dip
cleaners and keep the black in the recesses. Any ideas that you
will be willing to help me with. Thanks! Judith

Hi Judith, I’ve used plating solutions to accomplish what you’re
trying to do with great success. There are a variety to choose
from, but I prefer the gun metal black, or the black rhodium.

 I need to do some logo pins that will have a shiny silver
border and a domed, brushed silver inside with a recessed logo.
 I need to oxidize (or blacken) that logo with something and
still make it possible for someone to clean the brushed silver
when it tarnishes. 

G’day - hope you don’t mind if I jump in here. As you will
doubtless know, the usual sulphide blackening is no good; it
wears off inside 6 months anyway. So I have three suggestions.
One is to use niello which has been used for hundreds of years
for the purpose and is a compound of silver, copper, lead and
sulphur. Two problems here. You can’t buy it as it isn’t
commercially made. You can make it yourself (Tim McCreight’s book
has a recipe) BUT it is very hazardous to do, releasing large
amounts of choking and toxic sulphur dioxide fumes. I use it,
and it is easy to apply, but I was very lucky - a good friend on
the net made it and sent me some, and it is very good indeed. An
alternative is to use black enamel, which is a glass, BUT; you
will need your work to be in fine silver, for the melting point
of the glass enamel is very high, and great care has to be taken
to avoid melting solder or causing reticulation of sterling. It
is possible to use an epoxy resin coloured with a black pigment,
but of course, no repairs requiring heat can be done following
that treatment. Not terribly helpful, am I? But cheers anyway,

Judith , I have done projects like yours and have found that the
black paint used for touch-ups on cars really holds up well. It
can be found at auto stores in small nailpolish size bottles.

As I am an engraver, I do a lot of emblematic work. To color
portions of pieces as you describe, I frequently use two part
epoxy that I color with india ink for black or other colored
permanent inks for other colors. It is pretty much impervious to
anything, especially if the background is somewhat textured,and
is the best remedy I’ve found. HTH Ricky Low

Hi Judith, This is Susan C. I worked in a large Jewelry repair
company about 20 years ago, and we also used a black car paint
and set it under (very close) lights to harden it while it dried.
It seemed to work very well. It looks like black enamel. I have
also used powdered black jet stone mixed with 2 part epoxy, but
as was previously stated, no repair can be done afterwards. Bye!
p.s. are you going to the Snag conference?

Dear Judy,

The stuff I use exclusively is only available at Swest Inc. out
of Texas. The product is called ChemBlak. You paint it on, bake
it in a warm over for about 30 minutes and wipe off the excess.
It wears like iron in the recessed areas I have not found an
easier and durable product.

The only thing I change is the solvent provided. It is real
nasty stuff. I use uncented fingernail remover.

Swest’s # is 800-527-5057


TR the Teacher & Student

Hi, My husband is an artist and one day I tried using his
acrylic paints. It has worked great, have item totally finished
and paint on acrylic. Let sit overnite to dry. Next day use the
ultra fine nylon flexiable scrubber on the high spots. Stays on
great. I mixed up a beautiful teal color and used it on silver.
Got great feedback on it from ‘lookers’. Black is beautiful but
gosh there are other wonderful colors too. Carole bossarte

I don’t think that this would be permanent on anything exposed
to much wear such as rings. Acrylic can be peeled off of plastics
and smooth metal.

Marilyn Smith

True, as far as surface access. But I am an experimenter and
challenger- the color in the recess has remained in the recess
over 9 months so far with daily wearing of the ring. I teach
painting and clay, and wash my hands ‘multiple’ times everyday.
Go figure? Carole

Regarding acrylic paint: If you make sure that the surface of the
metal is textured and rough(matte/sandblasted) for the paint to
grab onto, it holds up rather well. I have a small piece of
copper that I experimented with 7 years ago by my sink and the
paint is still holding. This gets far more abuse than any ring. I
use it to keep my 20 yr old ultrasonic switch jammed on then
remove it to turn it off. I think it would be pretty permanent for
recessed areas.

I use gesso as a base - let it dry overnight - then paint with
acrylic paint - it gives you a nuetral base and colors are
cleaner especially yellows on a copper base mine is about 6
months old now and there are no chips yet! Aileen Geddes

Aileen- For the gesso base, do you texturize the metal first to make sure
the gesso has something to grab onto?

I tried to apply gesso to untexturized copper and had a problem. Thanks! -
Lori Bugaj

Lori I do use a scotch Brite pad to remove oxides from the metal- be sure
to leave the gesso set for 24 hours before putting more paint on the
surface - hope this helps