Topics: Metalsmithing, Patina

Q.
Instead of Liver of Sulfur, will using muriatic acid in small amounts to oxidize metal make the metal brittle? I like the gunmetal look I achieved in gold- and silver-plated chains but am unsure how long the patina will last. Thanks,
- Beth
A.
Plated metal chains dipped in any amount of muriatic acid will likely lose their plating. You may even be oxidixing the base metal to the gunmetal color.

Liver of Sulfur™ has long been the preferred oxidizer for non-ferous metals such as sterling silver, copper, brass and bronze. Liver of Sulfur nuggets are dissolved in a hot water bath (try using a mini Crock Pot® dedicated to antiquing). With a series of dipping and rinsing, you'll have control and good results without compromising the integrity of the metal.

That may be the most important factor to consider when using Liver of Sulfur rather than unreliable amounts of muriatic acid or any other acid for that matter. New on the market is Cool Tools Patina Gel, stabilized Liver of Sulfur, easier to use with a longer shelf life. Experimenting with this new product might save you time and materials and offer you more certain results.

- Sandra Lupo, Jewelry Designer and Instructor and Swarovski crystal Ambassador

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