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How to Darken Your Own Sterling Silver Jewelry

Updated on May 22, 2010

Sterling silver is a very versatile metal. You can polish it. You can hammer it. And you can even change it's color. Find out more about sterling silver from the experts at Stones and Findings

Antique Necklace from Urban Outfitters
Antique Necklace from Urban Outfitters

How to Darken Your Sterling Silver Jewellery Pieces

Save Money on your Fashion!

Sterling Silver, freshly bought, is usually shiny and new looking. However antique jewelry is in right now.

This necklace, from Urban Outfitters is basically a regular necklace that's been oxidized. When you fully oxidize an object, it looks something like this:

With the help of a scrubby sponge or your handy dandy steel wool, you can scrub off the blackened silver. Then use a rouge cloth to smooth out the piece and take off the excess black until you get something like this (courtesy of Mitzy Jonkheer)

With the economy being down, sometimes you gotta take fashion into your own hands. How do you oxidize your own jewellery? Here are some fun (and safe) ways to oxidize sterling silver jewelry at home!

If you want to darken the surface of your sterling silver jewellery components or jewellery designs quickly you can use a few different methods. These methods include the boiled egg method, the kitty litter method and the shower method.

The Boiled Egg Method

The most important part of this method in darkening the surface of your sterling silver jewellery includes the use of the yolk. You can choose to separate the white if you want to use it for something else - as the egg will not be edible after you perform this method!

For this method, you need to take a resealable container or bag; then, after separating the egg white from the yolk break the yolk or mix it, and put your sterling silver jewellery inside the bag together with the yolk.

Your sterling silver jewellery can touch the egg; don't worry about contaminating it. After waiting 10 minutes, you will start to notice that your sterling silver jewllery will start to change and you can wait as long as 10 hours, developing a darker colour gradually.

TIPS - Be sure to clean your sterling silver jewellery well before putting it together with the yolk. This will help in creating a more even coat.

The Kitty Litter Method

The key component to this method is the ammonia found in the urine of your pet. Therefore, you need to create an airtight environment, above which your sterling silver jewellery can hang. You will also need a bowl, that you can throw away after, and a large zip-lock bag. Fill the bowl with kitty litter, hang your sterling silver jewellery above it, and cover with a zip-lock bag. If you want a much faster reaction, bury your sterling silver piece in the kitty litter, let it stand a few minutes and clean well after the procedure is complete.

TIPS - If you would prefer not using this method, you can use different liquids to saturate your sterling silver jewellery such as old wine, ammonia, or sour milk. Sawdust is also a good alternative to kitty litter as well.

The Shower Method

If you have a few weeks of time to dedicate to your method, consider the shower method. Simply, hang your sterling silver jewellery in your bathroom and over a few weeks time it will naturally patina itself.

And if you don't like your home made patina finish for your sterling silver jewellery, you can always use the pre-packaged patina. Liver of Sulfur can be found at most jewellery supply stores. Just take a small amount of Liver of Sulfur and mix it with a cup of water and dip and re-dip your sterling silver piece into the solution until you've reached the desired colour. You can also create a wide variety of colours by simply warming up the liquid before dipping inn your sterling silver jewellery.

After you have created the patina on your sterling silver piece, feel free to experiment with baking soda on your finished surface.

And when you're done, do post up a picture of it in the comments or something!

I'd be really interested in seeing your creations!



An Example of the Boiled Egg Process

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    • profile image

      ali 19 months ago

      where is the egg Process?

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 6 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      Thank you so much I have been looking for this type of information to use in a craft project. This is an extremely helpful lens.