How to Oxidize Silver Jewelry
Learn how to tarnish silver with eggs for vintage jewelry you don't have to spend a fortune on.
Learn how to oxidize silver with eggs by following these six simple steps. If you've ever wondered how to give your jewelry that vintage look, this is the tutorial for you. Make wonderfully unique pieces your nana would be proud of from the comforts of your home.
Why does egg yolk tarnish silver? Oxidixed silver is silver that has been intentially darkened through an unnatural process. This tarnished (read: vintage) look is caused when the metal is exposed to air containing amounts of sulfer which can be found in egg yolks. Essentially, oxidizing your silver jewelry speeds up the natural process of jewelry, taking it to its final form in a matter of minutes as opposed to years.
This is a brilliant way to add accents to your jewelry collection without purchasing an expensive piece from the store. In order to create vintage pieces or oxidize pieces for a new look, you will need sterling silver pieces. Keep in mind that this will change jewelry forever, so make sure that you do not do this to any keepsake pieces that you hold dear.
Estimated CostUnder $10
Time to CompleteUnder an hour
Project TypeLearn a Technique
- Sterling silver or silver plated items
- Hard boiled egg (here's how)
- Plastic bag that can be sealed
- Polishing cloth
How to Oxidize Silver Jewelry with Eggs
Gather items to oxidize. For this project, these were a handful of bright silver plated bails.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Next, polish with a soft jewelry cloth - this removes the "excess" tarnish and restores the shine. Note: The more you rub with the cloth, the more tarnish you will remove.
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