Topics: Wire, Oxidizing

I would like to wirewrap gemstone rondelles and link them together to form a gemstone chain. I would like to use liver of sulfur to oxidize the chain. Is it safer to oxidize the wire before or after wirewrapping the gemstones beads into the chain?
- Penny
Since the liver of sulfur chunks must be dissolved in hot water for best oxidation, you might try oxidizing the straight wire before wirewrapping. This would protect the gemstone rondelles from the heated solution and any possible discoloration of the gemstones. You may also try patina gel which does not need to be heated to such a degree. In either case, it is still recommended to oxidize the wire prior to wire-wrapping. After applying the patina, gently scrub the wire clean with a soft brush and detergent to brighten the darkened wire and buff it with a polishing cloth to bring up a shine.

Use clean, smooth tools, including nylon jaw pliers when you wirewrap to avoid scratching the oxidized surface.

- Sandra Lupo, Metalsmith, Jewelry Artist and Instructor

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