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Author Topic: Changing gold- and silver-toned finishes on jewelry  (Read 3614 times)
sharm
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« on: March 02, 2010, 10:16:51 am »

I have a lot of gold- and silver-toned jewelry-making items (given to me) such as chains, pendants, pins, etc.  I do not like the brightness of these metals; I prefer a "medieval" or renaissance look.  Is there an application of some kind to create an older appearance in these pieces?  In furniture or home renovation/refinishing, something similar could be called faux marbling, crackling or bronzing, to give silver tones a pewter look and gold tones an "antiqued" look.  Ideas, anyone?
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Polly
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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2010, 12:14:31 pm »

Oxidizing solutions such as Liver of Sulfur or Win-Ox work on most metals (and platings). 
I highly recommended Liver of Sulfur XL Gel for sterling silver, copper, and most silver-plated jewelry, but it doesn't do much to brass. I haven't tried it on gold plate, but have a feeling it won't work well on gold plate either.

For gold-toned and brass jewelry, Win-Ox should work better. The instructions on the bottle say that for best results, you should heat the jewelry first (of course, being careful to not damage any stones, glue, etc that are already in your jewelry).

The oxidizing solutions are intended to darken the crevices of the jewelry. They wear off the high points quickly, leaving an effect like the finish on these Bali Silver Beads
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Polly Nobbs-LaRue
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« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2010, 03:37:15 pm »

I don't know if you also mean a bright, shiny surfaces vs. a matte surface, but a very fine grit sanding sponge or a Scotch-Brite dish scrubbing pad will take the shine off.  I tend to like matte finishes better, so I'm always scrubbing away at my sterling silver findings!

Oh, and I have trouble using oxidizing agents on silver plated items.  They probably have some sort of lacquer finish that keeps things like liver of sulfur gel from working well.  A light sanding, or a good washing, might help there.
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Luann Udell
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Russ Nobbs
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« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2010, 06:34:33 am »

Anti tarnish finish or coating is quite common on some (not all) silver plated items. Some types of anti-tarnish will be removed by antiquing solutions (like LOS). Other kinds require a solvent. Acetone (dip in or wipe on with Q-tip) usually takes it off. Some experimentation is required.

As Luann says, if you just want a duller finish or a matte finish abrading the surface will do it. I like the super fine steel wool for that. All of Luann's suggestions work well too. Depends on what you have handy.

"What you have handy" reminds me of some old school methods of darkening the surface of findings. Again, some experimentation will be required before you commit a large batch of goods to one of these methods.

1) I used to produce a line of filigree and bead earrings where I hand antiqued the filigree myself. I used to put a batch of filigree findings in a rock tumbler, spray in some cheap black spray paint, add 5 or 6 drops of paint thinner and tumble them for a few hours. After tumbling I'd lay them out on old newspaper to dry. I'd end up slightly dulled highlights and a lot of dark in the crevices. It didn't really work on a smooth, high polished item as it was all highlight. But even on a shiny, smooth piece I'd get a little duller finish because a small amount of very thinned out black paint covered the whole item. Depending on your needs that might work for you.

2) There are a couple of kits on the market for antiquing of costume jewelry. I can't find the links right now, sorry! One website has a great how to antique with magic marker and acetone that gives an effect similar to my spray paint and thinner method. http://svallee.com Updated 12/3/2010 - this website not active.
Her site has a lot of information about various antiquing methods, specifically for costume jewelry. Using Tarn-X, baking it in the oven, magic marker, etc, etc. Spend a few minutes on her site and see if any will produce the effects you want.

Remember though, a plain surface like a head pin,  many chain styles or a large domed piece does not have "low spots" to hold the antiquing. It can only change in color or become duller.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2010, 08:34:53 am by Russ Nobbs » Logged

Russ Nobbs
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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2010, 09:17:57 am »

Russ said
Quote
I used to produce a line of filigree and bead earrings where I hand antiqued the filigree myself. I used to put a batch of filigree findings in a rock tumbler, spray in some cheap black spray paint, add 5 or 6 drops of paint thinner and tumble them for a few hours.

OMG!!! Now that is kickin' it old school!   Cheesy
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Luann Udell
"Ancient Stories Retold in Modern Artifacts"
Wall hangings, sculpture and jewelry inspired by prehistoric and tribal art
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Luann's blog
Luann's art jewelry shop
Luann's more whimsical jewelry shop
Russ Nobbs
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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2010, 12:21:18 pm »

It worked well, Worked on plated goods or raw brass. We sold 1000's of those filigree and bead earrings. Occasionally I still see a pair worn today.

I also see them occasionally at garage sales and antique stores.
Sometimes with an asking price higher than the 1.00, 2.00, 2.50 or 3.50 we sold them for in the '70's <grin>
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Russ Nobbs
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