Oxidized silver is occasionally confused with other finishes like black gold, blackened silver, and gunmetal. You’ve probably seen all four finishes but not be certain what they were or how they were different. Black gold, blackened silver, oxidized silver, and gunmetal are all techniques used in jewelry making to give sterling silver chains and jewelry a moody, blackened appearance. However, there are some differences between them.
- Black gold: Black gold is created by combining gold with a black metal alloy, such as cobalt, chromium, or tungsten. This creates a unique black color that is embedded in the metal itself. Black gold is a rare and expensive option in jewelry making.
- Blackened silver: Blackened silver is created by applying a chemical compound to the surface of the silver, which causes a chemical reaction that turns the metal black. This process does not penetrate the metal, so it is only a surface treatment.
- Oxidized silver: Oxidized silver is created by treating silver with a sulfur-based compound that reacts with the copper in the alloy, causing the surface of the metal to darken. The result is a black or gray color that adds depth and character to the piece. This technique is often used to create an antique or vintage look.
How to Blacken Silver at Home
The design magic of blackened silver is easy to achieve at home thanks to Jax’s Silver Blackener.
Using Jax’s Silver Blackener is a simple process that involves a few basic steps. First, clean the silver jewelry or object thoroughly to remove any dirt or oils. Then, apply the solution to the surface of the silver using a brush or sponge. Keep the silver in contact with the solution for a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on how dark you want the oxidation to be. Finally, rinse the silver in cold water to stop the oxidation process and use a polishing cloth to remove any excess residue. Jax’s Silver Blackener is a quick and easy way to give your silver jewelry a unique and distinctive look. However, it’s important to follow the instructions carefully and work in a well-ventilated area
How to make Oxidized Silver at Home
- Wear protective gloves, eyewear, and a respirator or face mask to protect yourself from the fumes and chemicals involved in the process. DO THIS OUSIDE. Liver of sulfur smells like rotten eggs and you don’t want it inside your home.
- Mix a small amount of liver of sulfur with hot water in a glass or plastic container. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the appropriate ratio of liver of sulfur to water. Generally, a small amount of liver of sulfur goes a long way.
- Immerse the silver jewelry or sheet in the solution for a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on how dark you want the oxidation to be. Keep an eye on the piece as it darkens, and remove it from the solution when it reaches your desired color.
- Rinse the silver in cold water to stop the oxidation process.
- Use a polishing cloth to remove any excess oxidation or residue from the surface of the silver.
- Repeat the process if you want the piece to be darker or if you missed any spots.
- Liver of sulfur emits strong odors and fumes, so it’s important to work in a well-ventilated area or outdoors.
- Only use glass or plastic containers, as liver of sulfur can react with metal containers.
- Use caution when handling the liver of sulfur solution, as it can cause skin irritation or staining.
- Always wear protective gear when working with chemicals and fumes.
Making oxidized silver at home can be a fun and creative way to experiment with different finishes and create unique pieces of jewelry. However, it’s important to take proper safety precautions and follow the instructions carefully to avoid any accidents or injuries.
9 Ideas for using Oxidized Silver in your Jewelry
Here are 9 ideas of what you can do with oxidized silver in jewelry making:
Create contrast: Oxidized silver can be used in conjunction with polished or shiny silver to create contrast, resulting in a beautiful and dynamic piece.
Highlight texture: Oxidizing silver can help to bring out the texture in a piece, making it more visually interesting and unique.
Add depth: The darker color of oxidized silver can add depth and dimension to a piece of jewelry.
Enhance gemstones: Oxidized silver can be used as a backdrop to enhance the color and brilliance of gemstones.
Create a vintage look: Oxidized silver is often used to create a vintage or antique look in jewelry, which can be perfect for special occasions or to complement a specific style.
Emphasize details: By darkening the surface of the silver, oxidizing can help to emphasize the details in a piece of jewelry, making it stand out more.
Personalize: Oxidizing silver can be used to create unique designs or personalized pieces that are one-of-a-kind.
Make it more durable: Oxidized silver is often more durable than polished silver, as it can help to protect against scratches and other forms of wear and tear.
Experiment with colors: Depending on the chemicals used to oxidize the silver, different colors and finishes can be achieved, providing an opportunity for experimentation and creativity.
Overall, oxidized silver is a versatile and beautiful technique that can add a lot of character and personality to a piece of jewelry.