Apply An Antique Finish To
Chain Maille Jewelry

How an antique finish can be applied to chain maille jewelry by dipping it in liver of sulfur solution

This antique finish, can be applied to finished chain maille jewelry items.

A solution of liver of sulfur and water is used to produce this style of finish.

Applying liver of sulfur can result in a very dark piece of jewelry or a piece with unpredictable shades of copper, pink, purple, gold, gray and blue.

The temperature of the solution, the texture of the piece, the duration the piece is left in the solution combined with the rinsing time can affect the final antique finish and color.

This treatment will color all the components of your jewelry piece such as jump rings, clasps, etc.

A piece of silver left in the solution for too long will become a dark pewter color.

Liver Of Sulfur

It comes in a can of small pieces or as a liquid.

When you open the container a smell of rotten eggs will hit you.

There in no other product that will work as well or give the range of colors on silver as does liver of sulfur.

You don’t need much as you will only use a small amount for the solution.

Liver of sulhur will become weaker over time; so don’t buy a large quantity, store in a cool, dark place.

A new innovation from is Liver Of Sulfur Gel, this product is non-flammable and can be shipped by air.

It is long lasting and does not suffer the instability problems associated with normal liver of sulfur pieces.


Always work in a well-ventilated area and avoid breathing the fumes.

Have the following ready:

Disposable bowl or cup

Stainless steel tweezers or piece of wire

Rubber gloves

Clean towel

Large bowl of clean rinse water

Container of steaming water (not boiling).

Always keep LOS implements or containers away from other jewelry as it can become contaminated from contact with these items.

Dipping The Silver

Clean the silver with a mix of baking soda and water to remove oils and any other dirt or grease.

Rinse well; do not get finger marks on the silver.

Pour enough steaming water into a disposable container, just enough to cover your item.

Add a thumbnail size piece of LOS to the water.

The mix should be a pale yellow color; a darker color indicates a strong mix and the color will develop very quickly

You have very little control when working with a strong mix.

It is important to remember that the hotter the water the quicker the colors will develop

As soon as the liver of sulfur has melted dip the chain maille into the hot solution using either the tweezers or a piece of wire.

Remove immediately and rinse in the cold water to stop the reaction of the solution.

If the reaction isn't halted it will continue to change color.

Towel dry and inspect, it should be showing a gold color and possibly some other colors.

If you wish to increase the colors, re-dip and dry again. Always dry before re-dipping otherwise the solution will be weakened.

If the solution has cooled down reheat in the microwave for a few seconds. It needs to be hot to work.

Remember the longer it remains in the solution the darker it will become.


Use a polishing cloth to remove the LOS from the raised areas of the silver. If you find the cloth doesn’t work try to obtain a “sunshine Cloth” from a jewellers or from Rio Grande.

You may find a very fine dish washing pad in your supermarket; there are some gentle pads for use on non-stick cooking pans that can be used on chain maille.

If you tumble polish your silver piece, use stainless steel shot only.

Prior to tumbling clean your jewelry piece with a Scotch Brite pad, this will remove some of the patina from raised areas.

Wash and dry the barrel after use.

Wash shot in soapy water then rinse and allow to dry.

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