A Patina Can Add Shades Of Color
To Your Jewelry Pieces
A patina added to precious metal clay after it has been fired and burnished will produce subtle shades of color.
Chain maille jewelry can also be treated the same way.
A solution of liver of sulfur and water is used to create a patina on the finished piece.
This treatment 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 color.
A piece of precious metal clay or chain maille 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.
It will become weaker over time; so don’t buy a large quantity, store in a cool, dark place.
A new innovation from Cool Tools 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
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 silver item.
Add a thumbnail size piece of LOS to the water.
Always remember that the hotter the solution the quicker it will work.
It should turn a pale yellow color; any darker and it will probably be too strong.
You will lose control very quickly with a strong mix and the color will change very quickly.
As soon as it has melted dip the metal clay or 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.
Towel dry and inspect, it should be showing a gold color and possibly some other colors.
Use a paint brush to apply the solution if you only want to color small areas.
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.
If the precious metal clay patina is too dark it can be placed in a kiln and heated to remove the LOS.
A hand held butane torch can also be used.Do not overheat or the piece may melt.
Heating sterling silver chain maille with a torch may result in fire scale developing. The piece will need to be placed in a "pickle" solution to remove the scale.
If over heated the sterling silver can become brittle.
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.
If you tumble polish your silver piece wash the barrel out and dry after use.
Soak stainless steel shot in soapy water then rinse and allow to dry.
Return From Patina To Precious Metal Clay
Return From Patina To Jewelry Making How To