Liver of sulfur on silver

Carol Holaday rings
three rings with LOS
Carol Holaday - ring
Bird in a Bush ring

Three new rings created for the recent sale at Monterey Peninsula College. Showing these as examples of the colors that can be achieved on silver using liver of sulfur patina.

Liver of Sulfur for a rainbow of colors on silver –  adapted from instructions provided by Katherine Palochak.

2 C. hot water

about a half teaspoon of LOS gel (or can use dry lump form)

1 Tbsp. clear, plain ammonia

1 tsp. salt (I use kosher)

Dissolve the LOS in the hot water, then add the other ingredients. Stir well. Color of water will be yellow.

Dip piece to be patinated into a container of very hot water to pre-heat the metal, then briefly dip into the LOS solution.

Next dip it in a container of ice water to stop the action and set the patina.

Repeat as necessary to achieve the colors you want. Best to build up color slowly.  Color will develop beginning with straw gold and ending at total black. Left too long in the LOS and the black can become too thick and flake off.

This recipe is particularly good for the dark purple and blue iridescent colors although I have achieved some remarkable orange and magenta colors as well… as seen on the ring at right in photo.

Try different amounts of ammonia and salt (iodized salt gives a different color than kosher salt), and make color patterns by selectively dipping just certain areas of the piece into the LOS solution.

Allow the patina to dry and set before rubbing it off the high areas of the design with a fine polishing paper or pumice. I also use this process for copper and brass although the colors achieved will be very different. Mostly brown to black.

3 thoughts on “Liver of sulfur on silver

  1. Gail May 11, 2015 / 11:44 pm

    Beautiful rings!

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