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What is oxidized silver anyway?

What is oxidized silver anyway?

It's that time of year, when the days are getting shorter, the neighborhood is getting spookier and you're thinking, wow, I love that dark jewelry, but what is it?  Fall is the perfect time to add oxidized jewelry to your wardrobe, especially if it's Halloween themed!

You may have heard of a patina on metals - this is a chemical process that changes the surface layer to another color. You may also have seen it in "antiqued" jewelry, like the darker recessed areas of a class ring. Oxidized silver is a favorite at EBJ and instead of antiquing just a part of the metal, we've added the option to darken the entire piece to all of our everyday designs! The darkened silver has a nice contrast to skin tone, a matte texture. As it's worn, natural oils in the skin and day-to-day wear & tear reveal bits of the silver through the darkened surface, resulting in an antique shine.  

full moon hoops
the full moon hoop earrings "scream" Halloween!

The chemical process we use in the studio to oxidize the silver is done with liver of sulfur. This is a fun mixture of potassium sulfides. When heated and applied to the metal the sulfur reacts with the surface and the atmosphere to produce the grays and blacks. You mix a little dry nugget of liver of sulfur with some hot water, and voila! you have a hot stinky (Lauren used to call it jewelry farts) steaming tub of amazing oxidizing liquid.  

Starting with clean silver pieces, we drop them into the liver of sulfur mixture for up to a minute, rinse it off, and repeat as needed. This ensures an even coat and finish. Sometimes we might use a brass brush, green scrubby or something similarly abrasive to shine up the high spots. 

oxidizing silver

We've got a fun video showing the process on our Instagram page - click here to see!

xo Elaine