Oxidizing Metals with Eggs
If you want to oxidize a piece of jewelry you've just made, but do not have Liver of Sulphur on hand, you can do it with an egg. Just hard boil the egg, and when it's still steaming hot, peel it, cut it in half and seal it in a tupperware container along with the piece of jewelry you wish to oxidize. It takes considerably longer to oxidize using this method, so I recommend that you use a see through container if possible so that you can gauge the progress and remove it when it's blackened to your liking. It will begin to change the silver in about 10 minutes time, but if you want a darker effect, then you might wish to leave it in the container for several hours.
So how does this trick work? Believe it or not, the boiled egg releases a sulphur gas as it steams (which is why it's important to seal it when it's hot) which is then contained around your piece of jewelry in the container and it blackens the metal just as LOS does. The process takes longer, but the end result is just as good. This is also a more friendly method to use when you are dealing with softer, more porous stones ... though I don't recommend prolonged exposure even still.
Of course, when you're done, you will polish the piece using your preferred method, be it tumbling, a polishing cloth, steel wool, etc.
If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a line. And if you're new to the concept of oxidization all together, you can view two photos which show a bracelet before it's been oxidized, and after it's was oxidized and polished. You will see how it brings out the detail of the wire work in a most fabulous way! It's the perfect finishing touch for the right piece.
To view the difference that oxidization can make, click on the following link to go to my webshots: http://community.webshots.com/album/501620014ZheigX
Now, for an article on more advanced techniques working with Liver of Sulphur, check out the following link: http://www.holly-gage-eclectic-jewelry.com/liver-of-sulfur.html . You will find recipes for specific color effects, including rainbow patinas. They also discuss using a resist with LOS as well as how to remove the effects of LOS when it hasn't quite turned out the way you planned. It's a very valuable article!
I hope this tip proves useful to some of my fellow designers out there. ;)
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Oxidizing Metals with Eggs