Please can you help with my ongoing patina challenges?
I am weaving earrings with fine silver and sterling silver. I would
like to darken the sterling while keeping the fine silver bright.
The earrings in questions can be see at:
The ones pictured on my website are a combination of copper and fine
silver. I have had a lot of success with patina on copper/fine
combination and would like to get the same results with the
For the copper/fine, I dunked the piece in liver of sulfur. The
copper reacted quickly, while the fine only got slightly tarnished. I
was then able to go back into the piece and carefully paint "Tarn-x"
on the fine silver to brighten it. Fortunately the dark on the copper
was unaffected by the “Tarn-x.”
However, the same recipe is not successful with sterling/fine combo.
The sterling and the fine darken at pretty much the same rate. So to
get a nice dark sterling, the fine silver develops heavy oxidation.
When I go to brighten the fine with “Tarn-x” it removes the patina on
the sterling as well.
I have tried a water-soluble wax resist to cover the fine while I
darkened the sterling, and then used the same paint-on water-soluble
wax resist on the sterling while I removed any oxidation from the
fine. The problem is that one small drop of “Tarn-x” on the sterling
ruins the whole finish. Going back in to spot touch-up the sterling
with liver of sulfur looks shoddy.
Obviously a problem with this water-soluble resist is that it is
water soluble. I have tried lacquer (nail-polish), but it dries into
the crevices of the weavings and cannot be removed. Is there another
type of resist that I could use?
As for different chemicals, I have tried some products from Jax.
Their Silver Blackener oxidizes both the sterling and fine and is not
easily removed. I have tried their Silver Cleaner as well as soaking
the piece in pickle to remove the Silver Blackener, but it stays
stuck in the crevices.
Any suggestions as to other patinas that might work?
Is there any way to pre-patina 3 oz. of 28g sterling wire?
Any other ideas?
Thank you in advance for you time and expertise.