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What kind of pickle should I use

Hi everyone!

It has been an uplifting experience finding so many metal lovers out
there willing to help each other out. It’s been a week since I found
you all and have learnt much just reading. I am currently living in
Chile now and discovered art jewelry a couple of years ago only to
fall madly in love with this fine art form. The only problem is than
no such thing exists here. I am striving to acheive a good solid
goldsmiths base before I start experimenting but am having quite a
hard time because the very few people who know something keep it all
to themselves. So you see there isn’t very much access to
I have learnt very much in this last month studying
everything I could get my hands on on the internet and because of
this have also found some very good books to study from. In an article
by Charles Lewton-Brain, he mentioned using Sparex (which nobody
imports), “swimming pool acid”, or a salt and vinegar solution which
I can imagen is effective but slow. In Chile everyone uses sulfuric
acid a glass of water as pickle. I have always found it terribly
toxic to work with (even the plastic containers you buy it in start
to dissolve)and have been looking for a substitute. I looked for the
famous swimming pool acid and have yet no luck, there must be some
somewhere, maybe in a more specialized pool store. Anyway, if I find
it, should it be in a liquid form? Must it be dissolved in water? How
much water? Maybe it would be worth importing Sperex. It’s just too
toxic to work with every day, all day.

Thanking everyone in advance I would just like to mention how happy I
am to find that there so many metal working people out there
investigating and sharing their knowledge. It has been a real

Hasta ma�ana!

Hi Kristina,

You might want to try citric acid. It works well on gold and silver.
It is an acidulant of the food industry and is a safer alternative.
It does not copper plate and does not put holes in your clothing. I
do sell it but being in Chile you might want to try a food supplier
or distributor. It is heated in a crock pot. If you need further
email me offlist.

Diane Sadel
soon I will have a website of

I have heard of this before but have not met anyone who actually used
it. Do you use it instead of Sparex or as a suppliment to it for
certain circumstances? What concentration do you use? Is it heated

  • if so to what temperatuer? How often does it need to be changed?
    Can you use a bottled concentrate - or do you use fresh squeezed? :slight_smile:
    Is there anything else you find significant to the successful use of the product?

You mean sulphuric acid? I wrote to everyone a few days ago asking
what I could use instead of sulphuric acid because I consider it quite
toxic to breath in (not that I intentionally breath it in, the fumes
stay in the air quite a while after pickling a hot peice of metal).
If you use Sparex- stick with it.

Dear Travchef ( I only had your email not your name), If you are
referring to the citric acid, it comes in a powdered form with
directions for mixing. It is used instead of other products not as a
supplement. It works well and I have jewelers that do reorder the
product as they have been very happy with it. If you are interested
in trying a sample please email me offlist and I will be happy to send
you a sample to try. I have had only one negative comment and that was
from a jeweler who has well water and said it was difficult to rinse
off, but other than that everyone has been happy. Please email me at
@benad Diane Sadel


I have always used sulfuric acid because it removes perfectly and in a
little time the boric acid and the borax used in the weldings. I use
good stainless steel pots. If the acid will be used at ambient
temperature, then I use a concentration of 10%. It is much more
effective to use it hot, around the 75 Celsius degrees and at a lower
concentration, around 5% . I always maintain it at that temperature,
with an old electric coffeepot. If you do not boil the pickle, it does
not fumes nothing dangerous to the health. Wear a synthetic rompers to
prevent holes in your clothes. I hope it can help a little.

Daniel Mischelejis
Buenos Aires, Argentina
email: @Daniel_Mischelejis

Hi, I haven’t seen anyone mention that wonderful “pickle” Potassium
alum. Cheap, no holes in clothes, works very well slightly heated.
Brings up the fine silver. A handful to about one pint of water. I
never measure it!

Best wishes
Felicity in west Oz

Hi For our pickle we us a smaller ultrasonic with a lid with two holes
in the top that fit two pyrex beakers. In one we use the pickle and
the other we use a solution of baking soda we get heat and
ultrasonics. We hang our work on “s” shapped hooks made of copper
wire. I really like this set up. not too long of a wait, when we are
doing large volumes of work.

Rick in KC