Friday, January 8, 2010

How to oxidize silver with eggs

Have you ever wondered how to oxidize sterling silver a less smelly, more natural way? An easy way to bring a nice dark patina to your silver is to use hard boiled eggs!

You can use these easy steps to bring another dimension to your wire work.

STEP 1: Hard boil the eggs. The eggs I used here were from my daughters chickens-but any eggs will do. To hard boil the eggs put them in a pan and cover them by an inch with cold water. Bring them to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and let the eggs remain in the hot water-about 20 minutes for extra large eggs and about 15 minutes for large eggs.The number of eggs you will need to boil depends on the amount of silver you want to oxidize-I used 3 eggs for a medium zip-loc container.

STEP 2: Mash the eggs-the sulfur in the egg yolks is what causes the silver to patinize-so if you want to use only the egg yolks you can.




Here is the before picture of the sterling silver.







STEP 3: Place the egg into a small container or zip-loc bag. Wash the silver with a mild dish washing detergent. This removes fingerprints and the oils on the surface of the silver that will show up when you oxidize the sterling. In the container put the silver in with the egg. You want to do this while the egg is still warm-it helps speed the process. I like using a small plastic container.

STEP 4: After about 10-15 minutes you should begin to see a change in color-the sterling will turn a golden brown at first, and the longer you leave it in the egg the darker it will become.

This picture shows the golden color after about 10 minutes.

STEP 5: Shake the container occasionally to redistribute the silver in the eggs. for a nice even color. Leave the silver in the eggs until you have the color you desire. I like to leave it in overnight for a nice dark color.

STEP 6: Remove the silver from the egg-rinse and you're ready to start creating! The mashed egg comes off pretty easy from the silver-just keep rinsing until it's all off. If you want to highlight some areas of the silver you can buff back the the shine with a mild abrasive such as Comet and a wet sponge-for an antiqued look.


Here is the final results after leaving the silver overnight. You can see the difference from the undarkened pieces !


Another way to darken silver is to use liver of sulfur-but this is a less smelly, more "green" way of doing the same thing. Hope you will give this a try and let me know what you think!


If you want to learn about how to remover tarnish naturally from your sterling silver. Just follow these easy steps! Please let me know how you like these tips. I'd love to have comments on my facebook wall.


7 comments:

  1. I didn't realize you could do that with eggs!! How neat!

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  2. great idea! hey glad i found you here all the way from Etsy!

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  3. I did try this method and it works like a charm! Thank you.

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  4. I hope all of you who try this method will stop back and leave me a comment. I love hearing about how my tutorials are helping you out. I'm going to try to post a few more soon. Anything special you would like to learn?

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  5. Thanks for your generosity in sharing this tutorial. I've wanted to try this, but haven't yet done so. Your easy instructions will prompt me to give it a try. I am attempting to use less chemical choices in my jewelry design than I've done in the previous 13 years of designing, so appreciate this blog post.
    I found you through the Beach Glass forum. :)
    Thanks again.

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  6. Great tutorial! Thank you! But can I ask how permanent it is and how you would clean the items?

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  7. The oxidation will stay darkened as long as the pieces are NOT cleaned with a silver cleaner. I've lightly washed the jewelry with no problem. If you want to remove a bit of the oxidation, you can do that with a buffing with a silver polishing cloth. My best advice would be to try it on a "experimental' piece.

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