Pickle - Nickel

I have not been following this thread closely, so you may
already have this but years ago, it was recommended
to me that a 50/50 mixture of Sparex and hydrogen peroxide
(over-the-counter brand) be used as a pickle for nickle silver.
I have adjusted the ratio to 70% Sparex and 30% peroxide as the
50/50 mix is quite strong. We also use it to strip the often
persistent copper flash from brass. I would recommend not
letting the metal (especially brass) in the solution for
extended periods. It will pit the surface (or so we have found)
As always, I would use adequate ventilation. You are mixing
different solutions.

Does anyone have additional

Tim Glotzbach
Eastern Kentucky University
Richmond, Ky

Just another thought on nickel that I omitted from my prior

Nickel is the cause of about 75% of all jewelry allergies. You
should never use earwires, etc. that have been nickle-plated.

I also thought I read something sometime ago about the European
jewelry companies banning the use of it in jewelry.

Iris in Baltimore

Griffith Chemical Company makes a pickle called "Nickel Pickle."
After you use it once or twice it turns a black color which
does not harm the metal. I used to put nickel, brass and copper
in it and it really did a good job. It instructs you not to put
silver in it.

As for taking the copper flashing off of metal, especially
silver, I use equal parts of regular peroxide and pickle and
just dip the piece in it for a brief period of time. After the
flashing is gone, it just goes back into the pickle pot. It
really works great.

Iris in Baltimore

It’s interesting that you bring up the nickel allergy, Iris. I
am taking a class here in Seattle, and last week we were focusing
on clasps and hinges. I was told that it is best to use nickel
silver for these things (vs. silver) because nickel is a lot
"stronger" than silver, holding its shape and spring better. If
you are going to fabricate a piece and want to make the findings,
hinges, clasps, etc as well, is silver a safe bet - or are there
wear and longevity issues?

Lori Bugaj
(sun’s back in Seattle, Hallelujah!!!)

Iris, Thanks for the tip about peroxide plus pickle. I have a
bothersome amount of copper flashing when I go through the
hammer-anneal-pickle-hammer-anneal-pickle cycle on my hammered
silver work. Over a period of time miroscopic amounts of the
hammers and stakes are eroded into the silver surface and tend to
catalyze it despite the most vigourous scouring and diligent
boric acid dipping.


Lori: Sorry to be remiss in answering your post but I had not
gone into my e-mail for some days.

You could try to get some hard silver (I think Rio Grande calls
it “Spring-Finish”) to use. I know that there have been pieces
of silver floating around for decades with no harm to their
clasps. If you have a kiln, you would also work harden it that

The only thing that you might want to use the nickel silver for
is the hinge-pin. If the clasp will rest against one’s neck, I
think it could cause allergies. Also, if you are going to make
your own clasp, I would think it should be in silver so as not
to cheapen the piece.

Iris in Baltimore