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Potato salad

Greetings all. Had an interesting question asked today. One of my
students said she had made some Potato Salad with hard boiled eggs
cut up in it. She saw that her silver rings had turned black by the
time she finished cutting up everything. The black washed right off
the rings. She did not have to re-polish them. No harm done to the
salad or the rings. I am not a chemist. Any clues to what happened
here? Maybe I ought to run an experiment and have a picnic


If I remember my school chemistry, egg yolks contain sulphur in some
form (which is what is responsible for the ‘rotten egg’ smell when
eggs go off), so that may have been responsible for the blackening.

Hi, Bill,

I was taught that you can slowly oxidize silver by leaving it in a
"ziploc" bag with a hard boiled egg. I’ve never done this, since I
prefer sparkle, but I have recommended it to customers. I assumed
that the sulfur in the egg acted much as liver of sulfur does. But
the fact that the oxidation “washed right off” is disappointing–I
guess I’ll stop recommending it.

I used to immerse my naked but bejeweled body in a lot of natural
hot springs (those were the days when I had a life!) and my sliver
would be black when I got out. But I needed to use polish to bring
back the luster. I don’t know why this would be different (sulfur is
sulfur, right?), but I’m sure at least a dozen other Orchidians can
explain the chemistry behind this!

Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments
Benicia, CA

Hi, I think that the “hot” in your natural hot springs is probably
the difference…the boiled egg in a baggie method leaves out the
heat,and I get more permanent results with liver of sulphur when
either the solution or the piece to be coloured is hot. but the
smell…yuuech Steve Holden new website