Sunday, November 21, 2010

Oxidizing without toxic chemicals

This technique isn't new, but it's the first time I've tried it.  I generally use a liver of sulfer solution to oxidize my silver pieces and give the darker dimension to recessed areas.  I apply it with a small brush, wait a while, then polish the high spots on the piece with a cloth.

This weekend I finished up a few stamped silver charms I've been working on and decided to give the alternative method a try.  It's ridiculously easy:
  1. Boil an egg.
  2. Put the hard boiled egg in a plastic bag, shell and all.
  3. Smash the egg.  (I just gave it a quick punch on the counter...quite satisfying, actually.)
  4. Add the metal pieces to oxidize.
I could see a change in the sterling within a couple of seconds of adding the pieces to the bag.  I left them there for a few hours and they got nice and dark with relatively no mess or worry about chemicals.  I just fished them out and tossed the egg bag away. 

Sure, the sterling is ugly right out of the bag, but the polishing cloth takes care of that quickly.  A couple of these charms became part of a mother's necklace for a friend who just had her second baby.  I waited to put it together because I wanted to add crystal accents in the birthstone color for each child and you never know until the baby shows up which birthstone color to add!  Good thing I waited...the little guy was supposed to make an entrance in mid November but was born in late October.

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