I had a lot of fun yesterday playing with oxidizing some new pieces I did so I thought I'd share in pictures what I did and talk about what I learned.
First let me say, liver of sulfur stinks! So does ammonia. Unfortunately, in the world of metal and oxidizing, to get pretty color, you have to use one or both in some sort of combination. For many years, dry LOS was the only thing available and it was sold in big containers and came in chunks that you had to break up and add to hot water to dissolve- Phew- the smell- think rotten eggs! And if any moisture got into your supply it turned green and wouldn't work to darken your metal. Luckily someone came up with LOS gel a few years ago and at least the problem of throwing away your ruined supply regularly was solved- it still stinks, but it's very stable and is easy to mix, no punding chunks so it will dissolve.
I don't do huge amounts of jewelry when I play with live of sulfur, mainly because I'm never sure if I'm going to like the results. In hot water LOS will turn sterling or fine silver dark black in about 20-30 seconds. After you get your silver out, you have to dry it and go over it with very fine steel wool to bring up the shine on the raised areas leaving a very dark background. As you can see from this pendant- it can look very attractive, but it's not for every piece of jewelry.
http://www.etsy.com/shop/PPennee. I already had a few pieces I had oxidized with LOS, but they were the dark variety like the pendant below.
I knew from previous experiments that hot was not what I wanted, nor was cold. Cold LOS gives you what almost looks like gold- nice, but not what I was aiming for. So I tried luke warm, slightly hotter ( praise for the microwave)- I got a lot of yellow and brown, some red, still not what I wanted. I have lots of team mates on my Aspiring Metals Team on Etsy that work in copper. Many have mentioned using ammonia to get that great green verdigris color that looks so great. So I added a little ammonia, starting with about a teaspoon at a time.
Each time I dipped in my silver it got a little more interesting. Keep in mind, if you don't get what you want, you have to keep cleaning off the piece and taking it back to almost shiny silver to start again! After about 3 tries, medium warm temperature and 3 tsp of ammonia, this is what I got!
Feel free to comment and let me know what you think. I hope you enjoyed reading a little about playing with color.