First, one should understand how this process works. An antiqued finish occurs on silver because tarnish results from a process called oxidation. Silver will oxidize naturally when exposed to air for long periods of time, but this process can be hastened if you want to create the darkened patina that gives an item an older more vintage style appearance. Silver will oxidize when it reacts with sulfur. This reaction produces silver sulfide which causes a darkening and blackening of the silver.
One can elicit this reaction by either using a hard boiled egg or by using a product called liver of sulfur. Liver of sulfur can be purchased at jewelry and craft supply stores and many on-line sites. Since I am a beginner in this process, I used the supplies readily at hand - a hard boiled egg and a plastic bag.
- Sterling silver or silver plated items
- Hard boiled egg
- Plastic bag with can be sealed
- Polishing cloth
Gather items to oxidize. In my case, these were a handful of bright silver plated bails.
|Hard Boiled Egg in Sealed Plastic Bag|
|Mashed Egg in Plastic Bag|
|See the Silver Oxidizing Within Bag|
Next, polish with a soft jewelry cloth - this removes the "excess" tarnish and restores the shine. The more you rub with the cloth, the more tarnish you will remove. See the difference in these close-up photos of a bail after oxidation and polishing compared with a bail before oxidation.
|After Oxidation and Polishing|
To see finished jewelry using some of these oxidized items, be sure to visit my shops on ArtFire and Etsy!
|Azure Blue Glass Gem Pendant - on Etsy|
This tutorial has been featured on FaveCrafts.com!