Sunday, January 18, 2009

Oxidizing Sterling Silver...Using Hard Boiled Eggs!

With wind chills at -20 and snow and snow and more SNOW and nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon in Chardon, OH, I decided to oxidize sterling silver...for the first time! I first saw oxidized sterling silver on some jewelry designed by a friend I met over Etsy, and I fell in love with it! I loved the deep, dark, color that the oxidizing process left and I thought it added so much depth and interest to her jewelry. I've since seen it in other designs, but, until now have never tried it myself!

I decided to Google it first...and there were not too many posts on the subject. I did find that you could do it with hard boiled eggs or with liver of sulphur. Sooo, without the liver of sulphur and no way of getting it immediately, I decided to try HARD BOILED EGGS! I have to say, I was very skeptical at first, but, I had the eggs on hand and what else was I gonna do? I had nothing to lose.

So, I decided to hard boil six eggs. Why? That way I had plenty of eggs if I messed up and a couple left over for the kids breakfast in the morning. Plan ahead, that's my motto! I boiled the eggs and then removed them from the heat, covered them, and let sit for 18 minutes. While the eggs were boiling, I took a one quart freezer bag and placed the items that I wanted to oxidize in it.

Since I have no idea what I am doing, I decided to test out a few things too. I used sterling silver chain and placed it in one bag. In the other bag, I placed one of my wire wrapped rings (already finished), a piece of silver plate straight pin, a piece of silver plate chain, and a piece of nontarnish silver plate wire. Curiosity got the best of me and I had to see what happened. Like a scientific experiment.

After the eggs sat for 18 minutes, I took the very hot egg (using tongs, not my hand) and placed it in the bag (one in each bag) and closed it leaving a small opening. I then used the bottom of a cup to smash the whole egg inside the bag. Don't worry about it getting all over the jewelry, it washes off. After the egg was smashed (get the yolk good), I sealed the bag completely.
During the process, be sure to pick up the bag and shake it a little for better consistency. After the egg had cooled a bit, I noticed that the chain was not dark enough for me. So, I took the chain out and heated the egg up in the microwave for about 20-30seconds. I then placed the chain back in the back and repeated this process until I got it to the desired color. I also repeated the process with the silver plate items.

While the jewelry was in the bag-
I saw an immediate change in the sterling silver chain and the silver plate chain.
The nontarnish silver plate wire-no changes at all.
The silver plate straight pin-no changes at all.
The wire wrapped ring-a little change but not consistent overall.

I was very pleased with the result for the sterling silver and can't wait to try it out some more. Surprisingly, the silver plate chain has a very nice color also. As for rest, not so great. I'm going to leave it overnight and see what happens!

All in all, it was fun and a good experiment!!

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