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Thread: Patina / oxidising silver question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Posts
    10

    Default Patina / oxidising silver question

    Hi everyone,

    I'd like to add some patina to a silver chain in a way that replicates the photos below (textured, grey, darker/lighter areas).

    Click to make bigger ...



    I've never done this before, so some newbie questions:

    1. How should I prepare the metal? (e.g. brass brush / emery paper?)
    2. What oxidising agent should I use, and how long for? (e.g. Platinol, liver of sulphur?)
    3. How should I finish the metal to achieve the lighter / darker effect? (e.g. gently with polishing cloth?)

    Thanks so much in advance!

    Adrian
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails BRACELET.jpg   NECKLACE.jpg  

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Oxfordshire
    Posts
    157

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    Hi Adrian,

    I've used liver of sulphur a few times. I have some solid lumps which I dissolved in hot water. It works much more quickly when hot but does give off fumes. Good ventilation and appropriate safety gear is required. I then stored the solution which degraded over time. The patina was black with the original solution hot but gave some lovely purple browns with the degraded solution. This is a thin surface decoration which wears off easily so may be best suited to a textured surface where it won't wear off in the deeper recesses YMMV.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    671

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    I've been wearing a patinated chain every day, and although it's now lighter than when I first bought it it still looks oxidised with it's black colour in the nooks of the chain.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    2,825

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    I use platinol because I don’t find it as smelly but it will dissolve brushes so dipping or using a cotton bud or wooden cocktail stick for detailed areas is preferable. It’s trial and error on colour and how long you dip it. I rinse under hot water to enhance the colour but others have different ideas about that. The solution won’t keep much longer than a few hours. Be sure to rinse well especially chain.
    To bring up highlights try a silver cloth but that often just polishes rather than takes it back to the silver. I use wee silver polishing pads and just run them down the length of the chain to get the look I want. The oxidisation will of course stay on the inside of the links and will be much darker as they tend to be a matt or rougher finish which seems to take the colour better/darker

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Posts
    10

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    Thanks very much for the responses, this is really helpful.

    Should I be preparing the silver in a specific way to achieve the effect above? E.g. emery paper, scouring pad or brass brush?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Posts
    418

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    I tend to go low tech for prep and use hot soapy water and a clean kitchen scrubber.
    The closest I've come to achieving that patina affect was to use platinol, then I popped then into a tumbler with some ceramic pns for 15 mins which also left them matte. So they then went into the other tumbler with steel shot to bring the shine back up. Not quite the huge contrast you are looking for but as I recall these were lighter and I was after a darker look so I redid the process leaving them in the ceramic pins for a shorter time.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    These items were patina'd with platinol and then just thrown in the tumbler so all that happens is the the silver is dark and shiny at the end of that process with just a little bit of highlighting. In fact I might have gone over these with a brass brush in my rotary tool (I really should take notes!)
    Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    2,825

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    Quote Originally Posted by adrianykw View Post
    Thanks very much for the responses, this is really helpful.

    Should I be preparing the silver in a specific way to achieve the effect above? E.g. emery paper, scouring pad or brass brush?
    If it’s chain then it would be difficult to use any of those so as long as it clean and free from grease

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Posts
    10

    Default

    This is great, thanks for the advice. For how long was the silver left in the platinol?

    Quote Originally Posted by misspond View Post
    I tend to go low tech for prep and use hot soapy water and a clean kitchen scrubber.
    The closest I've come to achieving that patina affect was to use platinol, then I popped then into a tumbler with some ceramic pns for 15 mins which also left them matte. So they then went into the other tumbler with steel shot to bring the shine back up. Not quite the huge contrast you are looking for but as I recall these were lighter and I was after a darker look so I redid the process leaving them in the ceramic pins for a shorter time.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20200724_133855939.jpg 
Views:	11 
Size:	42.9 KB 
ID:	12606

    These items were patina'd with platinol and then just thrown in the tumbler so all that happens is the the silver is dark and shiny at the end of that process with just a little bit of highlighting. In fact I might have gone over these with a brass brush in my rotary tool (I really should take notes!)
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20200724_133919219.jpg 
Views:	12 
Size:	33.6 KB 
ID:	12607 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20200519_100938759-01.jpg 
Views:	12 
Size:	11.8 KB 
ID:	12608

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Central London
    Posts
    7,990

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    Only as long as it takes to achieve your desired colour. Leaving it in much longer risks a flaky result. Dennis.

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