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[Source] Ferric nitrate

Hello - I just found out through the Orchid Archives that Bryant
Laboratory has closed. There was a recommendation for another lab in
CA. Does anyone know of a source on the East Coast?

Thanks for any help you can give.
Cathy Heinz
Cathy Heinz Designs

Carolina Biological

Thank you, Bill, Deborah, Michele & Sarah
Reactive Metals Studio, Inc.

800/876-3434 928/634-3434 F928/634-6734

A source on the west coast would be appreciated also.

Ventura, CA

For Chemicals and patina stuff in the Los Angeles area:

In the bay area: courtesy of Mona Clee

in Denver:


does anyone have a good source for ferric nitrate? I just did my
first set of PnP blue etching (Thank you Alma - that Canon P170
copier was a perfect solution for me) and now want to move on to
etching silver. But neither Rio or Contenti seems to sell ferric
nitrate. Are there different grades of it? I’d love a specific

Many thanks

Hello Rachel,

I purchase my ferric nitrate from Colorado Scientific supply in
Denver. It is actually cheaper this way.

Their website is:


do a search for photographers formulary. they are a photo chemical
company that supplies items for older recipe developers and such.
they generally have it and many other things as well. also check b&h
photo as a reseller in NYC.


Thanks for all the source suggestions! I’m looking and seeing that
this comes in both tech and lab grade, depending on where I find it.
What is the preferred grade? Or is there no difference?


I bought some once and it worked well, but be careful!!! Highly
toxic and I believe explosive! Also you should have someone tell you
how to dilute it correctly- I think you add the chemical to water
and not the other way around. 

Just FYI - anhydrous ferric chloride (crystals) pick up water vapor
from the air, and form hydrogen chloride mist in the process -
that’s the gas that makes hydrochloric acid. I doubt it’s any huge
quantities, but don’t stick your nose in it, either. Mixing it with
water is an exothermic reaction - it generates heat. That’s the same
thing that mixing acid with water is - exothermic. So ferric
chloride is not explosive in the sense that nitroglycerine is, but
it can “explode” in the same way that pouring water into acid can.
It generates so much heat so fast that it “explodes”. A before W -
acid into water. Slowly, with constant stirring.

Tech grade is purer so more $$$. Lab grade is fine.

John Dach


For etching don’t worry about the difference. The price difference
can be huge so go with the technical grade.

Lab grade is important for most publishable scientific experiments
or protocols.

However, used distilled water, not tap and store it with a
desiccant. When you open the jar, use plastic gloves and keep a
plastic scoop in the crystals.

Most important…add acid to water, not the other way around.

Happy etching!

In the UK, Tech grade is ‘ordinary’ analytic grade is the purer and
more expensive one, I think it comes down to what a supplier wants to
call it.

Tim Blades.