Fading problems with Black Max silver oxidizer
I am having fading problems with Black Max silver oxidizer when it is exposed to direct sunlight and heat. These pieces are using new Sterling silver, cleaned properly, and have a uniform dark black color when the oxidizer is finished and
cleaned. Most of the time I use a clear protective lacquer coat, but not always.
The pieces, done over a long period of time, fade regardless of the protective coating and turn a green gray brown color within a day of outdoor exposure. Some have turned in less than 2 hours.
Do you have a solution and have you heard of this problem?
Stacy's Answer: I don't use lacquers or protective coatings on silver with the exception of perhaps Renaissance Wax from time-to-time when warranted. Why are you using a clear coat on Sterling silver? Black Max or Silver Black will remain in the ressessed areas of a design, but have a tendency to come off higher, exposed areas. Some produce more of a paint on the surface rather than oxidizing the metal.
Liver of Sulfur is perhaps a more effective oxidizer for silver. It produces a durable black or grey finish that penetrates the metal making it more resistant to wearing off than the Black Max or silver Black chemical oxidizers. I have had no problems with the Liver-of-sulfur (LOS) patinas fading in sunlight. I've never exposed to heat a finished piece of jewelry that I've added a patina to, so I can't say what would happen. Anywhere metal is rubbed on clothes, skin, etc. the brighter metal under the patina is exposed over time - whether on purpose or just a matter of the aging process.
If you haven't tried LOS, I would switch to using it as the products you're using don't seem to give you the results you want. The green, gray, browns, etc. sound like they might be the result of the clearcoat having a reaction with your chemical patina and the metal.