Friday, March 19, 2010

Jewelry Blog Carnival -- Patina Tips and Tricks

The jewelry blog carnival is hosted by a diverse group of jewelers to collectively ponder a topic of the month. Please visit the other members' blogs (links at the bottom) to see their views.

Patina on metal is one of those topics that I'm really interested in as a chemist, but I haven't truly taken time to explore in depth. For months now I've had a collection of chemicals sitting on my studio counter, ready to mix some more esoteric patinas. Alas, that hasn't happened yet.

I do recommend the bible of metal patinas, which my local library owns, The Coloring, Bronzing and Patination of Metals by Hughes and Rowe. I also like (and own) The Jeweler's Directory of Decorative Finishes by Jinks McGrath.

Very handy and free, this internet compendium of patina recipes at the Science Company is directed toward metal artists. Some of these recipes are the ones I bought chemicals for. If you're interested in mixing your own, finding small amounts of chemicals is tricky. For that purpose, try Home Science Tools, a homeschool science supplier that repackages chemicals into 30g quantities, usually a couple of spoonfuls depending on density.

For ready made patinas in an array of colors, for all metals, try Sculpt Nouveau.


Liver of sulfur is the "go to" patina for me, but rather than detail its well-known use, just refer to Holly Gage's excellent primer. I can offer one interesting observation. For my copper electroforming, I grow very smooth and shiny copper surfaces which give vivid rainbow patinas. I typically don't like the rainbow effect, so I actually have to buff the surface to a matte finish before applying the patina, to get the dark penny look I like. If you like rainbow iridescent patinas, I suspect that smooth surfaces will make that effect easier to acquire.

For more tips and tricks, visit these other sites for the perspectives of other fine artists:

Tamra Gentry
Tonya Davidson
Lorrene Davis
Lora Hart
Elaine Luther

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