black matte finish on a copper pendant

by Tracie

Thank you for your article. I recently made a copper pendant with silver balls. I want the copper to be black ( really black) and the silver balls silver. I cleaned the piece, put it in the Liver of Sulfur. It turned a gorgeous dark grey black - just as I wanted it. After rinsing in a baking soda bath the black rubbed off a bit when I placed it on a paper towel to dry. Is there anything I can do to make the black patina stay in place? I think if I wear it I'll have black smudge on my shirt. Thanks for your help with this question.

Stacy's Answer:

Hi Tracie!

OK, so we've established how to get the patina you want. I would add that in order for the silver balls to be silver while your copper is black, remove the LOS from the silver using a #M scrubbie pad or 0000 fine steel wool on the silver before tumble polishing. You can also paint the silver with nail polish to prevent it from oxidizing and simply use acetone to remove the polish after the patina is in place. The acetone will not harm your patina.

To keep the patina black on copper, as I mentioned in the other thread, you must apply a protective coating to the copper or it will continue to oxidize. As for turning your clothing black, I have that problem with 18 karat gold too. Chemicals used in dry cleaning, dryer sheets, fabric softeners, etc. along with lotions, perfumes, etc. can react with almost any metal and cause them to leave dark marks on clothing and skin. To prevent this, you need a barrier between the metal and what it may come into contact with. Lacquer works well to prevent the metal from making contact with skin and clothes while also protecting the metal from further oxidization. My favorite is Permalac lacquer, but Clear Guard by Sculpt Nouveau works well too.

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