Thursday, August 01, 2013

Silver Isn't Always Silver - Have a Little Black Patina with Your Jewelry

One of the trends for silver jewelry I've noticed over the last year or two is silver that's not silver: the rise of deliberate black patina. Since silver tarnishes from exposure to sulfur (not oxygen!) in the environment, regular cleaning is a necessity to keep that bright silver color. So we buff with a cloth, or dip into chemicals, or, best of all, prevent the tarnishing by storing in protective covering. The overall black patina converts a drawback into a desirable trait, starting off with the black surface as a design element.

Flora bracelet
©2013 Vickie Hallmark
sterling silver, dark patina
Of course details can be harder to see if the silver is all uniformly black. Typically silver jewelry is given a black patina to fill the lower areas in any texture, then the patina is removed from the raised surface to highlight all the detail. The surfaces may be bright and shiny or brushed and matte, but still black is only an accent.

Flora bracelet
©2013 Vickie Hallmark
sterling silver, light matte patina

I decided to experiment with my new Flora bracelet, just to see how it looked with various finishes. So you see it here in black, matte and shiny versions. I posted the first two on Facebook with a poll to see which was most popular, and the light version won by a landslide. Still, there were a number of friends who preferred the dark version.

Flora bracelet
©2013 Vickie Hallmark
sterling silver, light shiny patina

Which is your favorite?

4 comments:

  1. I think the brighter piece shows off your detail much better. It also shows more effort. To me, an all dark piece looks unfinished somehow... Like an all bright piece fresh from the tumbler, with no patina.
    This is such a beautiful bracelet! I especially like the toggle clasp.

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  2. Thanks, Barb! Actually, I find it more difficult to do the dark patina well, so effort is higher for dark. Except that then you don't have to clean all the time. I don't much equate work to worth, though.

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  3. Funny! I thought the dark one was nicer. I normally do not wear silver, preferring gold. So I like the dark version. Pretty! Hugs!

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  4. The bracelet is gorgeous, dark and light! I would probably go for an in-between one - with the highlights polished and the recesses dark. It's more work though :-)

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