How To Oxidize Silver Jewelry

While out shopping, you may have noticed silver jewelry that looks tarnished in the recessed areas. Were you mistaken to think a store would sell tarnished jewelry? Well in fact it is quite the fashion trend right now!

Oxidization refers to a process that naturally takes place when silver is exposed to oxygen in the air. It can happen within a few days to a few months, depending on the environment, humidity, and other factors. What do you do when you cant wait that long for your jewelry to oxidize? You can speed up the process with oxidizers that are applied to jewelry, allowed to dry and then polish away the excess on the raised portions of the jewelry item.

Liver of Sulfur is one such oxidizing agent. It comes in a powdered form, usually in chunks. It is very toxic so be very careful when handling. Be sure to use in a well-ventilated area and wear latex gloves. Do not allow the Liver of Sulfur to touch your skin, if it does, rinse with soap and water immediately.

Live of Sulfur works best when it is heated. Mix together the Liver of Sulfur with a little water, stir together and heat in the microwave for 5-10 seconds. You just want to gently warm the solution, not cause it to boil over! Also heat the silver jewelry with a hair dryer or other heating element, be sure to protect your countertop or work area from the heat, you can scorch it.

After both the Liver of Sulfur and jewelry item are heated, dip a cotton swab into the solution and gently dab it onto the silver jewelry. It should turn a dark color upon contact. It may go through several phases first beginning with green, then brown, then dark brown and finally black. You may have to re-heat the solution and jewelry item several times to achieve the darkness you desire.

Another product on the market that oxidizes silver is Black Max (formerly Silver Black). It is much easier to use because you do not need to heat the solution or jewelry item. Simply dip your cotton swab into the solution and apply to your jewelry item. It will turn black upon contact.

After your jewelry item is oxidized to the level you desire, you need to polish away the excess. This will happen on any raised portions of your jewelry item, leaving the recessed areas dark. You can use a Dremel handheld tool, polishing bench, or manually with a silver polishing cream. Polish until you are pleased with the results, this may take a while if you are polishing it by hand, but the results will be worth it!

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