Pickle Turning Silver Black

Help! My pickle is turning my annealed silver black! What is causing
it? How do I get rid of it? I tried buffing with a polishing cloth,
then I tried sunshine cloth, nothing! I also tried cleaning the
silver with a silver cleaner, nothing! What could it be?


sounds like your pickle is worn out. what type are you using? silver
turns black when you anneal it or torch it due to oxidation. If you
let it air cool it will turn black. so, my guess is not any acid in
your pickle to eat away the oxidation. curious to know what others
have to say. Love to learn new things.

Hi Racheal,

You may have discovered the perfect silver blackener! If you find
the culprit, do let us know. Is the pickle sulphuric acid? If it is,
do you know that iron or steel is not to touch the pickle while
pickling? Sometimes a jump ring on a bracelet is chrome plated, or
iron, and if not noticed will cause a reaction where copper is
deposited on all the silver in the pickle. Clasps with springs inside
will also do this, clasps must be kept out the acid because not only
do they cause the reaction, the acid is also dissolving the steel
spring. If a lot of iron has been dissolved, the copper deposit may
turn black. You could also have contaminated the pickle by pickling
something with chrome, nickle, lead, tin, or some other base metal,
which is now plating or depositing onto the silver. Other
possibilities are: your silver is 800 or less, which can blacken in
pickle; or the pickle is too strong which can happen when the water
evoporates, the acid will only evaporate after all the water is gone
and is then dangerously concentrated. If this happens, add the acid
to the water, water as cold as possible, with great care and wearing
eyegoggles. Try fresh new pickle and only allow gold (9ct+) or silver
(925+) to go into it.

Regards, Alastair

Hi Racheal,

How to get rid of the black on your silver? I would try one of these
if practical: heat again to annealing temperature and pickle in new
pickle; strip by reverse electroplating in a stripping bath; sanding
and polishing may be needed after stripping or as a remedy by itself.

Good luck! Alastair

Hello Rachael,

I think your problem is contaminated pickle. You want to make sure
that you’re not storing the pickle in a container that could have
metal in it… like a metal lid. You probably know that you cannot
use any metal but copper for tongs. Binding wire (unless it’s
stainless) is another culprit.

You should be able to buff off the black, but I’d try just
re-heating as in annealing or using some of the metal for soldering
and see if the black is eliminated by the heat and fresh hot pickle.

Judy in Kansas

Thanks everyone! Judy, I think you may have solved my problem. I am
storing the pickle in an old jelly jar, naturally it has a metal
lid! But I think I did contaminate it…I think I stuck my pliers in
the pickle to pick out a piece with out thinking… Thanks!