Oxidizing your silver may seem liks a tedious tasks. However, you can achieve some amazing looks and effects on your silver.
Pure silver is a metal found in the ground, just as gold is. Pure silver is too soft to form into objects, so it has to be combined with other metals, such as copper to give it the ability to be molded into a shape. Fine silver is 99.9% pure, which is why it has an increased value in most items. Sterling silver is only 92.5% pure. Unlike oxidized jewelry, sterling silver is not meant to tarnish. The copper in sterling, when it comes in contact with oxygen, tends to create the darkening effect that ruins the look of many pieces. So it would make sense that the best way to keep sterling looking shiny is to keep it in a cloth bag or clean it with a specially treated polishing cloth.
The effect of oxidizing pieces is for a slightly tarnished or antique look. This happens when the silver is purposely exposed to air that contains sulfur. This compound, silver sulfide, creates blacked patches, which gives the silver a dark black finish, resulting in pieces that have more of a vintage look.
To create the look of oxidized jewelry, designers will purposely treat the pieces to add more sulfides to the silver. Depending on the look that designers want to achieve, they may allow the pieces they create to be naturally exposed to air for a while, some may use a hard boiled egg – which contains sulfur or use the patina gel liver of sulfur for the darks results.
You can choose from a variety of techniques that leave you silver looking shiny, antiqued, or simply with a shimmering gunmetal look. Ideal for certain projects, absolutely. But not all! Sometimes that slightly oxidized look is perfect, especially if your paring it with stones that contrast well with the llights grey shine of a slight oxidization.
You might surprise yourself to see how well gold and the full oxidized chains pair together, an interesting look-sure, an aesthetically pleasusing style-definitely!
The oxidizing process opens up a whole new world of design possibilities. If you are design pieces for a store you can reach a portion of people who prefer oxidized chains and the style they offer. Or if you are just designing and making jewelry as a hobby, its fun to experiment and see what you can create!
Last but not least, slightly oxidizing your sterling silver jewelry protects if from fully tarnishing. If you create that sparkling grey shimmer, your silver will not turn black, keeping its strength and giving it some longevity.