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Shakudo approach

Hello Orchid Community!

I’m a hobbyist/design-enthusiast when it comes to many things
(recently including jewelry), and I’m hoping I can run a few
questions by you folks regarding Shakudo.

I read The Complete Metalsmith, and in it learned (in a brief
description) about Shakudo. The Complete Metalsmith notes that the
deep purple color on Shakudo items is achieved through oxidation on
gold/copper alloys.

In researching Shakudo online, I discovered this page: (and Ganoksin and
Orchid in general) which describes the coloration process as

I tried using an oxidizing flame on a 10/90 gold/copper alloy, and
did indeed get a light purple (lavender), and then a deep purple
(through extended heating). For me, this was a big step forward - it
worked! But over time (2-3 weeks), the color polishes off through
normal wear (the first thing I made was a simple ring).

I’m wondering if I’ve used the wrong approach, or misunderstood the
approach intended by The Complete Metalsmith. Is it possible to
’color’ this item without using any solutions? Or maybe my problem
is simply ‘sealing’ the color I achieved through heating the metal
flux-less, with something like an oil or wax (if so, what kind of oil
or wax is advisable - is Turtle-Wax the best choice)? I’ve also heard
of using a tin solder to ‘seal’ the color in (to create a
polish-proof barrier between the oxidized metal and skin) - is this
bogus in your opinions? Any other suggestions/ideas?


To patina shakudo try Baldwin’s patina (from Reactive Metals), and
seal with Renaissance Wax.

Good luck!
Victoria Lansford


The patina on shakudo will indeed wear off where it contacts skin,
clothing etc. It can reestablish itself with the salt and ammonia
that your own body puts off. One must design around that trait in the
metal. I’m not a huge fan of using waxes or sealants to hold onto a
patina preferring to let oxidation take its course.

After a piece is completely cleaned up (At the very least I clean up
shakudo with a bristle brush surface and bobbing compound.) I assist
its dark purple black patina into existence with a solution of
household ammonia and dash of salt. I massage it around with a little
brush. The beauty of this patina is that other metals in the piece
remain their original colors, only the shakudo oxidizes. This
came via “Shining Wave”'s handout (which I buy from
Reactive Metals.



I have been told by an expert that the best Shakudo alloy for
coloring is 4% gold, the rest copper.

Not sure about the best way to patinate. Surface patinas are not
very durable.

The part about the tin solder makes no sense, perhaps it is refering
to “tinning” as a way of protecting the skin from turning black from
contact with metal. Tinning is melting tin on the surface of metal,
typically copper or steel.