Silver is a wonderful precious metal. Products from it are simply mesmerizing - they shine, shimmer in the light and look like a real work of art. But as soon as you take silver in your hands or put on jewelry from it, a rapid oxidation process begins. The metal is tarnishing and losing a fair amount of its appeal.
Therefore, many prefer to darken silver. On the one hand, such products become similar to antiques covered with a touch of patina. On the other hand, shiny silver with dark spots looks more attractive.
Blackening and oxidation
How to darken silver at home? There are two ways to do this: oxidation and traditional blackening. And the difference between these two methods is enormous.
When oxidized, silver is covered with a thin film of oxides, so the product gets a dark coating. But the coating is short-lived and easily erased. The difference is especially noticeable when cleaning - if you polish oxidized silver, then it becomes covered with a grid of lighter spots.
Blackening is a metal surface coatinga mixture of silver, copper and lead sulfides. Such a coating is resistant to abrasion and completely disappears only with prolonged boiling or when exposed to acid.
Blackening on an industrial scale is produced in various ways. But, as a rule, they all represent the application of a powder from a mixture of silver, copper and lead sulfides to the product. The patina is fixed by the “dry” or “wet method” - in the first case, the product is fired after applying the powder, in the second case, the metals are diluted with water to a creamy state, and silver is heated in a muffle furnace after applying the mixture.
If we talk about how you can darken silver in general, then experts identify the following ways:
- galvanic - this technology provides for the availability of special equipment, so it is not used at home;
- mechanical - using graphite;
- chemical is the most reliable blackening method.
How to darken silver at home with graphite? This is a fairly simple technology, and its result is due to the same processes that occur with lunar metal over time. That is, particles of dust stick to it and tightly "eat" into the recesses. With graphite, you can simply speed up this process.
For blackening, products are lubricated with a mixture of graphite powder, iron oxide and turpentine, diluted to a mushy state. Then they wait for complete drying and wipe the silver with a soft cloth. The older the product, and the more uneven its surface,the more noticeable the result will be. But in general, such blackening is less durable than that obtained by chemical or galvanic methods.
Blackening with an egg
How to darken silver at home with an egg? The technique is quite simple and you do not need to buy any additional funds. Everything you need is already in the fridge. So, for blackening with an egg, you must perform the following steps:
- Cook an egg or two if there are a lot of silver jewelry.
- Separate the protein - it can be eaten, as it does not participate in the creation of a noble plaque. All the substances needed for blackening are concentrated in the yolk.
- The yolks must be placed in an airtight container and crushed.
- Next, you need to place the silver in the same container, but so that the metal does not touch the yolks, otherwise the blackening process will be too fast and uneven. Therefore, decorations must either be hung or laid out on a wire rack, in the most extreme case, isolated with a paper towel.
- Products should be left with yolks in a tightly sealed container for a day. If after 24 hours the result does not look too impressive, then you can leave the silver for another 1-2 days.
- Take out the products and wash them with soap.
- Buff all ridges with a soft cloth.
How to blacken silver at home with iodine? When using this substance, the product must first be cleaned. Then apply with a cotton swab or cotton swabiodine solution and put the silver to dry best under direct sunlight.
When the metal darkens, it needs to be cleaned with toothpaste - it will replace a mild abrasive. After cleaning, the bulges will shine, and the recesses will remain darkened. If the result is far from perfect, then the procedure must be repeated the required number of times.
The disadvantages of this technology are obvious: this blackening method is suitable for embossed products, but is not suitable for jewelry with a smooth surface.
You can quickly and effectively darken silver with sulfuric ointment. It is a drug that is mainly used to combat the pathogens of scabies, both in humans and animals. Therefore, it is sold in both veterinary and regular pharmacies.
Sulfur ointment is thick, yellow in color and has a rather unpleasant odor. It must be applied to the product, and then heated to a fluid state with a hair dryer. After the ointment becomes more liquid, it can be more accurately distributed on the surface of the silver. When heated, it will be seen how the metal acquires a rich black-blue or purple color. After the product can be wiped dry, if necessary, the procedure can be repeated.
Also at home, in order to darken silver, they use "sulfur liver" - a sintered mixture of sulfur and soda, which is thrown into water with silver. But at home, this blackening technique is not recommended, since hydrogen sulfide will be released in the process - a dangerous gas with an unpleasantscent.
How to clean blackened silver?
Applying a dark coating is much easier than removing it later. In order to get rid of blackening, you will have to make a lot of efforts, and most likely, you will turn to specialists for help.
But if you need to clean blackened silver, while maintaining a noble dark coating, then such a procedure will require special care. First of all, you need to abandon the brushes, and use only soft cloths for polishing. So the relief will remain darkened, and the bulges will be shiny. You can use toothpaste as an abrasive. Blackened product should not be boiled or cleaned with caustic substances.
And in cases where you give a patented piece of jewelry to the workshop for cleaning, you must warn the jeweler that you need to preserve the noble patina.