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Pickle for copper and silver mix


#1

I’m wondering how to pickle a copper and silver bracelet… wont
the copper pickle attach copper onto the silver? and putting the
copper in the silver pickle will contaminate the pickle… Thanks,
Im fairly new to jewelry and love this site for all everyones
and help!

Rgds, gail

gail williams
www.gailart.com


#2

I think you have almost answered your own question with regard to
contamination. You need to prepare some pickle for this piece and
throw it away afterwards to prevent cross contamination.

Nick Royall


#3
I'm wondering how to pickle a copper and silver bracelet.... wont
the copper pickle attach copper onto the silver? and putting the
copper in the silver pickle will contaminate the pickle....
Thanks, Im fairly new to jewelry and love this site for all
everyones and help! 

Don’t worry, it won’t happen unless the bracelet touches something
made of iron or steel (steel contain iron).

Sterling silver is a mixture of silver and copper. When you heat it,
the copper oxidises and turns black or dark grey. The pickle
dissolves the copper oxide away to leave a very thin layer of pure
silver, but then the pickle contains a solution of copper sulphate.
If you place a gold or silver item in pickle containing copper
sulphate, nothing happens as long as it doesn’t touch anything
containing iron. But if it does touch iron it causes an electrolytic
reaction that deposits the copper in the copper sulphate onto the
gold or silver.

So, as long as it doesn’t touch anything containing iron, the
electrolytic reaction doesn’t occur and the copper remains in
solution.

Regards, Gary Wooding


#4

Hello Gail,

The copper will be okay in the pickle you use for silver. Good luck
with the bracelet.

Mary Lu


#5

Only if you have steel or iron in the pickle. I use the same pickle
for copper and sterling or fine silver all the time. Have for years.
However if you contaminate it with the iron it will set up an
electric current that will plate everything with copper. Or that is
how it was explained to me. As a bonus, if you save expired pickle
you can do this purposfully to flash plate silver solder seams on
copper. I place the piece I want to do this with in the blue pickle,
then with my hands gloved I rub steel wool repeatedly along the
solder seams. If it stops plating you have utilized most of the
available copper in the pickle. Then I just get more old pickle and
do the rest of the seams.


#6
I think you have almost answered your own question with regard to
contamination. You need to prepare some pickle for this piece and
throw it away afterwards to prevent cross contamination. 

Hogwash, there is absolutely no need to worry about contamination of
the pickle by copper or silver. The only likely problem she could
have is by introducing iron into the bath and actually touching the
bracelet with the iron object otherwise there will be no plating of
copper out of solution onto the work.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#7

Putting copper and silver in the same pickle will not contaminate
either the bracelet or the pickle because they are both non-ferris
metals. The only way you will transfer copper to the silver portion
of the bracelet is if you use stainless steal etc. tongs i.e. ferris
metal, to remove the bracelet after pickling. Or, if your pickle is
old and saturated with copper oxides, some of them may transfer onto
the bracelet. Working with copper and silver combined is my favorite
medium, try it out and enjoy.

Kim St. Jean


#8
As a bonus, if you save expired pickle you can do this purposfully
to flash plate silver solder seams on copper. 

Nice description, Paleo Chick! Just out of curiosity, how well would
such plated copper last on the seam of, say, a copper bracelet?

Judy Bjorkman


#9

Oh, I forgot to mention… I’m using Argentium silver… but doesn’t
seem that would matter.

and while I’m asking questions… I have made almost everything
using Argentium as it is supposed to be tarnish resistant (per my
silversmithing teacher) but seems things are tarnishing… any
thoughts on that?? is it that they will just tarnish slower? and a
little less? Thanks everyone.

gail
www.gailart.com


#10

Not long enough Judy. I use it when I am doing a non wearable piece
of sculpture and LOS over it. It will make it less noticeable for a
little longer on jewelry though. If it is jewelry I usually try to
do a LIGHT electroform plate over it. If there is silver on the piece
I want to preserve, I mask that out. Also if I am doing a stronger
patina I electroform over the solder seam. I learned that one the
hard way. A hand raised and chased pear sculpture with a lap seam I
did a tobacco patina on ate right through the pickle plateing. Now I
have a ‘pretty’ silver seam running around the base of a dark-brown
mottled pear. One day I will learn to make much less noticable seams
on lap seam constructed, partially raised sculptures. In the
meantime I have options!


#11

Argentium has a higher silver content than sterling so it will
tarnish a little slower and appear brighter when polished.

Nick Royall


#12

I pickle mixed metal pieces (silver with copper or silver with gold
filled wire) together in the same pickle, and I have never had a
problem. Remember to always use copper tongs for removing your
pieces from the pickle. I use Sparex #2 for my pickle solution. It
works well and doesn’t have toxic fumes.

Kathy Brandon, ceo
www.workingsilver.com


#13

Hello Gail,

You asked about Argentium (AS) and its tarnish resistance. AS will
tarnish, but as you said, it does so more slowly and is more easily
cleaned than standard sterling. Another thing you can do to retard
tarnish is to use the Goddard cleaning cloth - it does seem to help.

I enjoy using AS because it doesn’t fire scale!! What a blessing.

A very happy and wonderful New Year to Orchidians everywhere. Judy in
Kansas, where the Christmas Eve snow remains on the ground.