Oxidizing Your Silver Jewelry — Make Silver Jewelry (2023)

laura17 Comments

A quick and easy way to turn your sterling and fine silver jewelry into fantastic pieces with character and depth is to oxidize your silver! I love the rustic, organic look that oxidation gives my silver. It makes my jewelry stand out from the others and really brings out the unique, handmade qualities that I put so much effort into creating!

In this video I quickly run through the basic steps of the method I use to oxidize my silver pieces. I’m also throwing in some info on the tools and supplies that you’ll need.

Enjoy!

Have you oxidized your silver jewelry before? What methods/ tools do you use? Do you have any tricks and tips to share? Leave a comment below and share the love!

Oxidizing Your Silver Jewelry — Make Silver Jewelry (1)

17 Comments

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  • Oxidizing Your Silver Jewelry — Make Silver Jewelry (2)

    Ateeya

    Hai, I am selling silver oxidised jwerrly ,if anyone need it contact me by Email_ ateeyamisbah@gmail.com.

  • Oxidizing Your Silver Jewelry — Make Silver Jewelry (3)

    Talia

    (Video) How to Reverse Oxidation on Silver Jewelry : Jewelry Making & Maintenance

    Hi Laura,

    i have noticed that after w while (sometimes only few weeks) the oxidized chain is wearing off and you can see a brown\grey metal. how can I prevent this to happen?

  • Oxidizing Your Silver Jewelry — Make Silver Jewelry (4)

    Hi, Laura. I haven’t yet tried oxidizing anything – I actually haven’t worked much with silver yet, at all. I’m still a beginner. :) My question is, is it safe to oxidize a silver piece that has a stone in it? For example, a silver ring with a stone bead, or silver beaded earrings, etc. Will the LoS or baking soda damage the stone?

    Thanks! :)

  • Oxidizing Your Silver Jewelry — Make Silver Jewelry (5)

    Ray

    Hello,
    This may be a dumb question..but I was wondering If you could oxidize silver/copper jewelry with salt water?

  • Oxidizing Your Silver Jewelry — Make Silver Jewelry (6)

    Julia

    Hi, Laura! I am a beginner, and am curious if oxidation from ss non-textured chain (using the LoS method) will wear off onto the skin? Should the chain we wiped with a jewelry cloth to help prevent this? Also, I’ve heard bleach can be used to oxidize silver. Do you have any experience with this? Thanks!

    (Video) How To Oxidize Your Sterling Silver Jewelry At Home (Short Version)

  • Oxidizing Your Silver Jewelry — Make Silver Jewelry (7)

    Hi Laura,
    How does one get the dramatic rainbow effects. I have heard adding ammonia and salt to the LOS solution will give the more vivid blues and reds. Is there any specific technique /formula to get the rainbow look? I am a beginner and would appreciate any tips. Thanks !

  • Oxidizing Your Silver Jewelry — Make Silver Jewelry (8)

    Jamie

    Is there something that can be used to make the oxidation permanent? I’m noticing with some 925 silver I have purchased that it will arrive showing slight signs of flaking and with consistent wear, oxidation will often diminish or fully rub off in highly touched areas. For commercial purposes this is a huge problem. Is this a result of the LOS application process or proper cleaning of the silver, or is there a way to seal in the oxidized color?

  • Oxidizing Your Silver Jewelry — Make Silver Jewelry (11)

    Liz

    Hi Laura! Thanks for share your tips, you’re very kind. I use both sterling and fine silver wire for my jewelry, but I’ve noticed that the fine silver wire gets a bright orange color instead of the black i need, and the sterling silver wire turns black very fast, I’ve only used dry LoS. What can I do in this case? Thanks.

    (Video) How To Oxidize Your Silver Jewelry
    • Oxidizing Your Silver Jewelry — Make Silver Jewelry (12)

      laura

      Hi Liz!
      Sounds like you may need to clean your fs before oxidizing. Rinse in warm water with mild dawn dish soap and rub with an old soft tooth brush with latex gloves on to remove any oils from your hands. Then put your fs into your oxidizing solution and wait and see what happens. You may need to give it a little bit longer than sterling to turn dark. Keep trying and let us know how it turns out! Have a great day! ;) L

  • Oxidizing Your Silver Jewelry — Make Silver Jewelry (13)

    Hi Laura,
    I’ve only used dry LOS, adding it to hot water (I’ve heard it needs to be hot). How does the gel work- do I need to heat up the piece itself to get a nice black color? Or is room temp fine?
    Thanks!
    Jenny

  • Oxidizing Your Silver Jewelry — Make Silver Jewelry (15)

    (Video) How to Oxidize Your Silver Jewelry

    Bonnie

    Is it REALLY environmentally safe to just pour the LOS water out? I have oxidized small pieces of copper by suspending them over ammonia in a closed jar because I know what ammonia will do, but I don’t know what LOS will do. I’ve also heard of closing your pieces up with a hard boiled egg.

    • Oxidizing Your Silver Jewelry — Make Silver Jewelry (16)

      laura

      Hi Bonnie! Yes, it’s perfectly safe to pour out your liver of sulfur after it’s been used. I recommend pouring your baking soda and water solution into the LoS to neutralize it, then you should be just fine pouring it down the drain. You can further dilute your solution by running cool water down the drain while you’re pouring it out if you like. At least that’s normally what I do :)

      I have heard of oxidizing with eggs before… it should work as sulfur is released from eggs. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve heard many talk about placing your pieces in a sealed plastic baggie or a glass jar with a cut boiled egg. It sounds like it may take a few days, so if you’ve got time to experiment with it, I say go for it!

  • Oxidizing Your Silver Jewelry — Make Silver Jewelry (17)

    Good for you, Laura, for posting how-to videos. I like them better than reading directions. I’ll share how I do my oxidizing.

    Oxidizing jewelry is great for adding dimension to jewelry. First I clean my piece in a sudsy light ammonia solution to remove any and all oils my piece may have from me handling it. Skin has oil on it, and oil will inhibit the liver of sulphur, possibly causing my piece to have a splotchy look when oxidized. I use an old clean toothbrush for the gentle scrubbing. Then instead of applying the LoS directly to my piece with a q-tip, I mix a few drops of it into a bowl of some luke warm or warm water. Exact amount? Mix it till it gets a bit cloudy and is has a yellow hue. It really only take a few drops. I dip my piece in the LoS solution, and pull it back out after a couple/few seconds. If I don’t see an immediate darkening effect, I do it again. Two to three dips will see the piece start to darken. Dipping like that gives me a lot of control over the oxidation rate, so I can leave it lightly oxidized or go darker as it suits me. I make sure I end the process with neutralizing the LoS’d piece in the water & baking soda mixture (no specific measurements there but a couple tablespoons to a bowl of water is fine), or my piece will continue to darken. Note: the side that touches the water first, darkens first. It only took me a couple of tries with some scrap copper to get the hang of it. I encourage people to experiment with it on something they can play around with. It will only take a couple tries and you will get the hang of things. I use 0000 fine metal wool and polishing cloths to get the highlights I want from my piece when I’m done LoSing. The cool thing is if it gets too light from polishing, I can always dip it in the LoS again.

    Lastly, I keep my solution until it loses its cloudiness, which usually lasts over night, then I pour it outside or into a plant – it’s just inactive sulphur solution and harmless at that point, but definitely not for consumption!

    That’s just the way I do it… I’m sure others have their own ways of doing LoS and I hope they share their methods as well. :)

FAQs

Is oxidized silver real silver? ›

Blackened or oxidized silver is genuine sterling silver, but its outer surface has been purposely darkened via a chemical process. This essentially speeds up the natural tarnishing process, creating an attractive dark patina, which consists of a layer of silver sulfide on the exterior of the metal.

How do I get my jewelry back to silver? ›

Vinegar. Here's how to polish silver with vinegar, which you may not know is an incredibly versatile cleaning tool. Return luster and shine to your silverware and jewelry by soaking it in 1/2 cup white vinegar mixed with 2 tablespoons of baking soda for two to three hours. Rinse under cold water, and dry thoroughly.

Does oxidation hurt silver? ›

While silver is susceptible to oxidation, it is not the same type of oxidation that other metals experience when they “rust”. When other metals like iron suffer from rust, they are permanently damaged.

How do you get sterling silver back to silver? ›

White Vinegar & Baking Soda

Soak your tarnished jewelry in a ½ cup of white vinegar with 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Warning: this mixture fizzes. Keep your sterling silver in this solution for two to three hours, rinse and dry.

Which is better sterling silver or oxidised silver? ›

Real silver is highly inert, making it very hard to oxidize the surface. Instead, sterling silver is much more suitable to be used for oxidization. Sterling silver is 92.5% pure, with the rest 7.5% consisting of impurities, such as copper, etc.

Is oxidised silver good? ›

Oxidized silver is a process that many jewelers use to give sterling silver a black patina. It gives the jewelry an antique or tarnished look. The process consists of taking clean sterling silver and using a chemical (liver of sulphur) to treat it to speed up the tarnishing effect.

Why does my silver look like copper? ›

What Is Tarnish? Tarnishing occurs when the chemicals in pure silver or sterling silver jewellery react to moisture and sulphuric gases in the air. This causes a chemical reaction that results in your jewellery turning from a luscious and iridescent silver tone to a dull browny-red and copper colour.

Why did my silver ring turn gold? ›

Tarnish is the oxidization that occurs when air-borne sulfurs and chlorides are present, causing a yellowish cast on the sterling silver.

Is silver worth less when tarnished? ›

Though tarnish on silver doesn't reduce its monetary value, it can make it unsightly. Cleaning and polishing the bars can bring back their natural beautiful luster. Silver is a precious metal that reacts to hydrogen sulfide.

What color would silver change to after oxidation? ›

About Oxidized Silver

A layer of silver sulfide forms on the exterior of the metal giving it a blackened look.

What does oxidation do to jewelry? ›

Oxidation is a process by which metals blacken over time. This is common in silver and sterling silver because of the nature of the alloys that are commonly used for this type of jewelry.

What is the difference between oxidation and tarnish? ›

Oxidation is another term for TARNISH. It can happen when silver is exposed (not only to oxygen) but also sulfides. Many gorgeous pieces have been INTENTIONALLY oxidized in order to give the pieces some depth.

Does vinegar turn silver? ›

Like lemon juice, vinegar is acidic, which results in a chemical reaction when it contacts tarnished silver. It makes the solution ideal for use as a silver cleaner.

Does cleaning silver with baking soda damage? ›

Although using baking soda and aluminum foil can quickly remove tarnish from silverware, some dealers caution against using it on antique silver, as it can be too abrasive and ruin the finish (especially if you're unsure of the provenance and it's possible that the pieces are not actually sterling silver).

Why is my silver necklace black? ›

Silver becomes black because of hydrogen sulfide (sulfur), a substance that occurs in the air. When silver comes into contact with it, a chemical reaction takes place and a black layer is formed. Silver oxidizes faster in places with a lot of light and high humidity.

Does oxidized silver stay black? ›

The color of oxidized silver is superficial; Just the top layer of metal has turned the blackened color. Over time, even with the best of care, the oxidized finish will polish off and the true color of the silver will shine through.

Is oxidised jewellery expensive? ›

Oxidized rings or jewellery are not as expensive as they look. They come in cheap but help you bang the floor with your style.

Can you reverse oxidized silver? ›

Quickly restore your jewelry or tableware with vinegar, water and baking soda. This cleaning agent is a great option for many things, including your tarnished silver. Mix 1/2 cup of white vinegar with 2 tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl of lukewarm water. Let the silver soak for two to three hours.

Does oxidized silver turn green? ›

We sweat, we wash our hands, we go outside in the humid air and our skin also contains natural oils. All these things can contribute to the moisture that gathers on our skin and under the ring. So if the question is does sterling silver turn my finger green? Then the answer is yes, if the oxidation process occurs.

Can oxidized silver get wet? ›

The short answer to this question is yes, you can (if you know it's sterling silver). Water generally does not damage sterling silver. *But* water does cause silver to oxidize (darken) more quickly, and what type of water and the chemicals in it has an impact on how much it will cause your silver change color.

How long does it take for silver to oxidize? ›

Sterling silver can begin to tarnish in anywhere from 2 months to 3 years, but don't let that worry you. Tarnish is no big deal and there are simple ways to clean and prevent it.

How can you tell real from fake silver? ›

The easiest way to tell if sterling silver is real is by finding the imprint on your piece. Rings, necklaces, and bracelets made of sterling silver will have a “925” stamp somewhere. On rings, the stamp is usually on the inside band. Bracelets and necklaces will often have them on the clasp or on a seperate charm.

Does fake silver turn? ›

While jewelry that's made of pure silver or gold doesn't tarnish, cheaper alloys in fake jewelry will start to change colors and oxidize over time. If you have fake jewelry that's lost its original shine or color, there are easy ways that you can clean and polish it at home.

Why is my silver changing color? ›

Background. When silver is exposed to sulfur-containing gases in the air, it discolours and then darkens as it reacts with the gas to form a surface layer of tarnish. This process is called tarnishing, as explained below in The science of silver tarnish and its cause.

Why is my wedding band turning gold? ›

The rhodium-plating is the protecting coat giving the wedding ring the look we are used to. The wedding ring turns yellow because of the use consuming the rhodium coat, letting the natural colour of gold emerge.

Does Coca Cola clean sterling silver? ›

If you don't have any chemical cleaner, you can use Coca-Cola, or Coke, as a simple cleaning substitute for sterling or plated silver. The acid in Coke works to cut through any grime or rust on the silver's surface. Once you soak the silver in cola, you can have a piece that looks good and new!

What can ruin silver? ›

Silver tarnishes faster in areas with high humidity and air pollution. Chemicals like hairspray, perfume, deodorant, body lotion, bleach, etc., can speed up the tarnishing process.

What tarnishes silver the fastest? ›

Many day-to-day items such as soaps, facial cleanser, shampoos, perfumes and foods such as onions and eggs, also contain sulfur compounds. So, if you wash your jewelry in sulfur-rich water or use skin products made with sulfur can all lead to the quick tarnishing of silver.

Is silver tarnishing permanent? ›

Anti-tarnish bags and polishing cloths can help minimalize the tarnish to your sterling silver jewelry. But, when the inevitable occurs and you notice your jewelry has darkened or become dull, there is GOOD NEWS! Tarnish is not permanent… AND it is easily removed!

Is oxidised jewellery good? ›

Oxidized jewellery not only comes at a reasonable price but also comes in unique designs. It gives an antique look and is suitable to go along with both Indian and western outfits. So, if you are looking for oxidized jewellery that enhances your look, then you have landed in the right place.

Why did my sterling silver turn white? ›

Many things can speed tarnish; air pollution, the minerals in your water (and as such wearing your silver jewelry in the shower can speed this process too), living or working near a chemical, electric or manufacturing plant are all things that can cause discolouration more quickly.

What is the difference between silver and sterling silver? ›

Fine silver is 99.9% pure silver. In this form the metal is beautiful and suffers from minimal tarnish, but it's generally too soft and malleable for many uses, including making most silver jewellery. Instead fine silver is alloyed with copper to create sterling silver, which is 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper.

Can you undo oxidation? ›

Light-to-moderate oxidation can be removed with polishing compounds, while heavy oxidation requires a rubbing compound. Apply the compound gently to a small area, work it into the paint and remove it quickly, repeating until all signs of oxidation are gone.

Can you remove oxidation from jewelry? ›

Because of this, oxidation can easily be removed by dipping it in a chemical cleaning solution, or by rubbing or polishing the metal with the help of a polishing compound.

Does oxidized jewelry fade? ›

THEY ALL FADE AND WEAR OFF.

You may love the look of the piece when you first purchase it, but know that in time it will slowly change. As it's exposed to atmospheric gases during storage and wear, oxidized silver's patina will wear off in high areas.

What happens when you oxidize metal? ›

It is a chemical reaction of the metal surface with the oxygen present in the air that causes some of the metal to corrode (or oxidize) and form the respective metal oxide on the surface. In some metals such as steel, the corrosion products formed are very visible and loose.

What oxidizes sterling silver? ›

Use Liver of Sulfur

Liver of sulfur is a mix of a variety of different things, including potassium thiosulfate, potassium polysulfide, and potassium sulfide. You can purchase it as a gel and add a bit of it to hot water. Then simply drop your silver household items into it until it's the color you want.

Is metal oxidizing bad? ›

During the oxidation reaction, the electron that the metal loses could also be a hydrogen atom. When this happens, the metallic ion reacts with oxygen to form a metal oxide. In iron, we call it rust. Generally, this is a bad thing in metals, since it weakens the structural integrity of metals.

What does vinegar and baking soda do to silver? ›

Combine the baking soda and salt. Then add vinegar and boiling water. The simple (but fun-to-watch) chemical reaction should begin to remove the tarnish immediately. Heavily tarnished pieces may need to soak a little longer.

Does bleach destroy silver? ›

Do not use harsh chemicals such as bleach, acetone, etc, to clean your silver because they can make silver more dull, and ruin the surface.

How do you oxidize silver at home? ›

First add a chip of sulfur to a glass bowl and then add hot water. The chip will dissolve and the water will turn a brown color. 2. Once the sulfur dissolves, place the jewelry into the solution, and oxidation should start immediately.

Does toothpaste help with silver? ›

6 Toothpaste

This is a classic, easy DIY silver cleaning recipe. Use non-gel and non-abrasive toothpaste. Squeeze a small amount of it on a soft cloth or paper handkerchief. Rub onto the jewellery or silverware with circular motions to polish it and clean off the tarnish.

Is toothpaste good for silver? ›

Toothpaste can damage your diamonds, gemstones, gold and silver. Toothpaste is abrasive and has a hardness of around 3/4 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. Metals such as gold and silver are softer, so toothpaste can actually scratch damage your gold and silver jewellery.

Does silver polish ruin silver? ›

Polishes will damage gilding. Silver dips, if used without care, will over-clean silver that has a chased, engraved, or embossed decoration. If the object is silver plated, any method of tarnish removal may be very damaging.

How do you fix silver when it turns black? ›

To clean tarnished silver, use a polishing cloth or soak it in a solution of warm water and ammonia and scrub it lightly with a soft toothbrush. It is a good idea to clean your silver jewelry regularly, even if you don't see signs of tarnishing. Storing sterling silver jewelry properly is vital in warding off tarnish.

How do you fix a silver chain that turned black? ›

How do you clean silver that has turned black? If jewellery has turned black, the quickest way to clean it is using a silver dip. Place your jewellery in the silver dip for 10-20 seconds, remove it and wash it with water then leave to dry. You can follow this up by cleaning it with a soft polishing cloth.

Why has my Tiffany necklace gone black? ›

Sterling silver tarnishes when exposed to salty air, chlorine, sulfur, humidity, perspiration, cosmetics, household bleach and other strong chemicals.

Is oxidised silver safe? ›

No, silver oxide is not bad for your health.

You can keep wearing your silver bracelet even if it fully oxidized. Hydrogen sulfide can be dangerous and toxic for your skin, however, the chemical reaction that happens with the silver under normal daily use is not toxic for your health.

Is oxidized sterling silver safe? ›

The tarnish is silver sulfate, which is slightly toxic. Wearing tarnished jewelry can cause skin irritation.

Can you repair oxidized silver? ›

Quickly restore your jewelry or tableware with vinegar, water and baking soda. This cleaning agent is a great option for many things, including your tarnished silver. Mix 1/2 cup of white vinegar with 2 tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl of lukewarm water. Let the silver soak for two to three hours.

How can you tell if something is actual silver? ›

The Magnet Test

"Silver is not noticeably magnetic, and exhibits only weak magnetic effects unlike iron, nickel, cobalt, and the like," says Martin. "If your magnet sticks strongly to the piece, it has a ferromagnetic core and is not silver." Fake silver or silver-plated items are generally made of other metals.

What does oxidize silver look like? ›

About Oxidized Silver

A layer of silver sulfide forms on the exterior of the metal giving it a blackened look.

How do you remove oxidized silver? ›

For silver that is heavily tarnished, mix a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water. Wet the silver and apply the cleaner with a soft, lint-free cloth (not paper towels). Work the paste into the crevices, turning the cloth as it gets gray. Rinse and buff dry.

What do you do with oxidized jewelry? ›

Baking soda, salt and aluminum foil.

Mix one tablespoon salt and one tablespoon of baking soda and mix with one cup warm water. Pour into the dish. The mixture will create a chemical reaction with the foil and bubble as it cleans the jewelry. Rinse with cool water and buff dry with a clean cloth.

How can you tell if silver is pure or silver plated? ›

Check the colouring of the item carefully; genuine silver is generally less shiny and colder in tone than silverplate. If you see places where the silver appears to be flaking off or turning green, the item is silver plated.

How can you tell if something is real silver without markings? ›

If it doesn't have a stamp, run a magnet around the pieces of metal. If it's attracted to the magnet, it's not sterling silver. Since silver oxidizes in air, try rubbing it with a white cloth and looking for black marks on the cloth from oxidation.

Videos

1. Chemical Oxidation Of Silver To Create High Contrast
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2. How to Oxidize Sterling Silver with 7 Simple Tricks! – Jewelry Making Tutorials
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3. How to Blacken Silver Jewelry
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4. Surface Finish Tutorial For Your Sterling Silver Jewelry
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5. Everything You Need To Know To Make Your Own Sterling Silver 925
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6. What PATINA do I use and HOW. Patina for jewelry making & metal oxidation.
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