Thursday, October 27, 2011

Instant Patina

My supply of liver of sulphur came in handy once again as I worked on some necklaces for my Woodmere Art Museum order.
Liver of sulphur is a mixture of potassium oxides and is used to create an instant patina on sterling silver and copper.
I have had the same can of liver of sulphur for years and take care to keep it sealed. If your supply gets wet, it becomes 'deactivated' and will not yield good results.
A small chip of liver of sulphur was added to a container of warm water, and once the chip dissolved, I added my newly finished briolette necklaces made with sterling, pearls and semi-precious gemstone briolettes.
The necklace on the left shows how the necklaces looked after being submerged for approximately one minute.
While I do like this darkened gunmetal patina for some pieces, I wanted something a bit brighter and reflective for these necklaces. All surfaces of the sterling chain, rings, wire and clasp were lightly sanded with a foam sanding block to selectively remove areas of the dark patina.
The necklace on the right is now completed after 15 minutes of careful sanding.
Many jewelers use sanding sticks or hand held pieces of sand paper, but I prefer to use foam sanding blocks. The block is much easier to grasp than a piece of sand paper, and I like how the foam can compress slightly making it easier to make contact with different surface of a completed piece.
I purchase my sanding blocks at hardware stores and always get the finest grit that is available.


  1. thanks for the tip. I see that B'Sue also uses nail foam sanders too

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