Using Liver of Sulfur to Oxidize Sterling Silver

See the tabs below for all products and tools used in this technique, plus any additional tips that may be helpful to you!

Use liver of sulfur to give an antique finish to sterling silver findings and components. Our tips will show you how to oxidize silver like a pro, safely and easily.
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Tip 1Read the Liver of Sulfur FAQ before you begin.
Tip 2Learn how to use a tumbler before you begin.
Tip 3Remove any silver jewelry you do not wish to be oxidized. Even the Liver of Sulfur fumes can oxidize metal.
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Step 1

Always work outside when using Liver of Sulfur (LOS). Make sure you wear gloves and designate glass or ceramic containers that will be used solely for this purpose.

Step 2

Clean the silver before you begin. Any polishing residues, wax or fingerprints could affect the consistency of the oxidation. Hot soapy water and an old toothbrush work well.

Step 3

Make a neutralizing bath. You will use this later to neutralize the silver once you have finished oxidizing.

Step 4

To make the neutralizing bath: Using one Mason jar, mix two teaspoons of baking soda in one cup of cold water.

Step 5

Stir solution until the baking soda is dissolved. Set aside for later.

Step 6

Prepare your workstation. You need two mason jars with one cup of hot water in each, the neutralizing bath you just made, Liver of Sulfur, the silver you wish to oxidize, a pair of gloves, a plastic spoon and some paper towels.

Step 7

Drop the silver into the hot water of one Mason jar.

Step 8

In the other Mason jar add 1 pea sized lump of LOS to the hot water.

Step 9

Mix thoroughly.

Step 10

Remove the silver from the hot water and carefully place the silver into the LOS solution trying not to splash.

Step 11

Leave the silver in the LOS solution until it reaches the desired color, stirring occasionally to get an even finish.

Step 12

Remove the silver from the LOS solution and place the silver in the neutralising bath. This will stop any further oxidation of the silver.

Step 13

Remove the silver form the neutralizing bath and dry slightly with the paper towel.

Step 14

You can either tumble the silver to polish and seal the oxidized finish or you can use a polishing cloth. Be careful not to completely rub off the oxidation.

Step 15

Put two teaspoons of baking soda into the LOS solution to neutralize it.

Step 16

Loosely seal the Mason jar that contains the LOS solution and leave the jar out doors, out of the reach of children or animals. The LOS will degrade and eventually turn clear. Once it is clear it is no longer toxic and you can dispose of it by diluting the solution and flushing it down the drain.

Step 17

Congratulations! You have oxidized your silver.

 

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