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How to Oxidize Silver

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Ever wondered how to give your jewelry that vintage look? Follow these instructions from Irene Helms and you'll learn how to oxidize silver yourself! Then you can make wonderful, unique pieces at home.

How to Oxidize Silver

Materials:

  • Sterling silver or silver plated items
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Plastic bag with can be sealed
  • Polishing cloth

Instructions:

  1. Gather items to oxidize. In my case, these were a handful of bright silver plated bails.


     
  2. Place hard boiled egg into a plastic bag and seal - no need to peel the egg although this might make it easier to chop. The sulfur is actually in the yoke so theoretically all you need is the egg yolk.


     
  3. Mash the egg within the plastic bag. Since I did not peel the egg, the easiest way I found was to simply "stomp" it lightly with my foot a few times. If you have peeled your egg, you can probably just use your hands.


     
  4. Next, open your bag and place the item(s) to be oxidized. Reseal the bag and watch as the process begins. The longer you leave the silver within the bag, more discoloration will be produced. I left my silver bails in the bag about 15 minutes. I also repositioned and turned the bag over several times during that 15 minutes to make sure all surfaces were exposed to the sulfur.


     
  5. When desired level of oxidation is achieved, remove the items and rinse off to remove any pieces of egg. Next dry the items and examine them.


     
  6. Next, polish with a soft jewelry cloth - this removes the "excess" tarnish and restores the shine. The more you rub with the cloth, the more tarnish you will remove. See the difference in this close-up photo of a bail before oxidation.


     

 

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