Pin It Oxidizing sterling silver is a great way to add some contrast and character to your jewelry pieces. I also like the rustic, vintage feel it gives to the silver. Oxidizing does not have to be done using harmful chemicals. Here is an easy and economical way to add a patina to your silver all while being eco-conscious.
You will need:
One or two eggs (depending on how much silver you need to darken)
A pair of tongs
A ziplock baggie
Your sterling silver to be oxidized
A polishing cloth
Step One: Boil some eggs. Place your eggs in enough water to cover your eggs and bring to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes then remove the sauce pan from the heat. Let the eggs rest in the saucepan for about another 10 minutes.
Step Two: While your eggs are boiling, clean your silver. You can very easily use mild dish soap and water. Cleaning your jewelry will remove any oils that have gotten onto your silver from your fingers. This is an important step to ensure that the oxidation is even. The silver will not oxidize if it is not clean.
Step Three: Use your tongs to transfer the warm eggs (it is important that your eggs still be warm) to a ziplock baggie.
Step Four: Place your sterling silver in the ziplock baggie with the eggs and seal the baggie, making sure it is completely air tight.
Step Five: Use the back side of your tongs or the palm of your hand to smash the eggs. Make sure you really break up the yolk since the yolk is the source of the sulfur, but be careful not to puncture the plastic bag. You may get some egg onto your silver, but don’t fret….it can be washed off!
Step Six: Wait patiently. I recommend checking the jewelry every few hours. When you see the color that you like, gently open the bag and remove and clean your jewelry. I usually leave my jewelry in overnight to get the coloring that I prefer.
Step Seven: Polish your jewelry to highlight the patina. You can simply use a polishing cloth to rub the areas in which you want the silver to show through.
Finished Chalcedony and Sterling Earrings!
Using eggs to oxidize your jewelry is an environmentally safe and inexpensive way to achieve a desirable dark patina. It may take a little more time than traditional liver or sulfur or “silver black” methods, but it is much more earth friendly and economical.