Thursday, July 21, 2011

That Vintage Look, How To Oxidize Jewelry With Liver of Sulfur

Hi, I'm Clare and I operate the Etsy shop Mylana.
One of my favorite ways to relax before bed is to make jewelry, but sometimes I get disappointed becuase the pieces look too much the same. In order to spice things up a bit and add variety, I like to add a patina, or an aged coating, to some of my pieces. In this tutorial, I will show you how to oxidize your jewelry in 5 minutes, using this easy method.

First, you will need liver of sulfur gel. I purchased mine from this etsy seller: The cost was less that ten dollars and has been enough to oxidize 4 batches of jewelry.

The next step is to mix the gel with hot water. 1 teaspoon for 12 oz of water is recommended. Watch out, it does smell very strongly of sulfur! You might want to do this outside. Some alloys do not patina well, but if your piece is sterling silver, silver-plated, or copper, it will patina. From experience, not all bronze or brass look metals will patina; you need to experiment.

After you mix your liver of sulfur with the hot water, you will have a brown solution of sulfur water. Gather the pieces you want to oxidize, and place them in the solution. It will discolor cloth and felt beads, so you can oxidize your findings before assembling the jewelry as well.

Leave the jewelry in the solution for 3 or 4 minutes and check the level of discoloration. If there is no patina on the object, you need to add more concentrated gel. Check again in 3 minutes and if there is still no discoloration, your metal alloy does not contain enough pure silver.

When the desired level of darkness is attained, remove the items from the solution. If you use your hands, the solution will smell of sulfur, but it will not stair your hands. Lay the jewelry on a cloth to dry and dispose of the sulfur water. According to the manufacturer, the sulfur solution is great for fertilizing plants, tomatoes in particular, so don't dump that water down the drain, give your vegetables or houseplants a mineral boost!

Here is the jewelry after the oxidation process:

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