Daily Wire Tip Dec. 29: Oxidizing Sterling Silver

By on December 29, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
December 29, 2010


I want to make some sterling silver jewelry and oxidize the silver by using liver of sulfur. Should I oxidize the wire before putting the jewelry together, or should I oxidize the piece after I’m finished?

-Karen in Wichita, Kansas


Karen, most folks oxidize a silver or copper jewelry piece after it has been made.

When a finished piece is dipped, the patina will form into the crevices between the wires and wraps, accenting those areas. When brushed with steel wool, you will then achieve the lovely antique look you are seeking.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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  1. avatar


    December 29, 2010 at 8:34 am

    This would depend entirely on what materials you are using in your piece. If you have cultured pearls for example they would be ruined by dipping them in liver of sulphur. Other organic materials or soft stones could also be damaged.

  2. avatar

    Paula Mion

    December 29, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    There are some that use it on pearls and soft stones without a problem. Testing first is easy to do. Also, what about using the hot boiled egg, breaking it in the plastic bag on more delicate things?

  3. avatar


    December 29, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    haven’t tried it yet but people are talking about using boiled eggs for the oxidizing agent…to me this seems safer for people and jewelry…

  4. avatar


    December 29, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    I agree with Kitty, if the stone can’t be put in a tumbler because it is too brittle or porous the liver of sulpher will be absorbed by both.

  5. avatar


    December 29, 2010 at 7:54 pm


    Eggs work beautifully, especially in a pinch, when your LOS has dried up and is beyond salvaging. I have used them a couple of times. The advantage is that you don’t have to wear gloves with the eggs. The eggs do not stain your hands!

  6. avatar


    January 2, 2011 at 10:51 am

    LOS is the current look to most jewelry items. I don’t particularly like the look of heavy coating since silver has its own beauty when left as it and as it oxides slowly as it ages. This seems to be the current trend with coiling and weaving of wire. I like Carina’s idea of using the boiled egg to add some oxidation without having to spend the money for the LOS that may or may not give you the results you want.