Jewelry and Coffee with Rena
Video Episode 22
by Rena Klingenberg.
Can you oxidize silver and copper with boiled eggs? Or is that just an urban legend? Let’s find out:
Transcript of This Video:
Sometimes it’s nice to have bright, shiny metals in our jewelry.
But other times it’s nice to have something that’s a bit more antiquey, something that darkens and shows the textures in our jewelry.
And when we want to do something like that with sterling silver or copper, we can oxidize with a boiled egg.
Patinas made with ordinary household products may be harmful if ingested, inhaled, or worn against the skin. Use in well ventilated area, preferably outdoors.
Before starting this project, see Homemade Patina Precautions for safety guidelines.
You may have heard about this process before, and wondered if it’s just an urban legend or if it’s for real.
So I’m going to show you today how I’ve darkened some of my sterling silver chain with boiled eggs.
You’ll get the best results with freshly cleaned sterling silver or copper that is NOT lacquered or coated in any way.
We’ll start by putting two raw eggs in a pan of water, and put the pan on the stove.
We want the eggs to be at the boiling stage for at least 10 minutes.
Here’s our sterling silver chain and clasp; they’re nice and shiny because they haven’t been oxidized yet:
While your eggs are boiling, it’s time to wash the metal you’ll be oxidizing.
You can use liquid dish soap and water, scrub them really well, and rinse them off thoroughly.
After your jewelry is washed and dried completely with a paper towel, you can get out a baggie that you’re going to put your boiled eggs into.
As soon as your eggs are done boiling, get them out of the pan with a pair of tongs so you don’t burn your fingers, and put the eggs directly into your ziplock bag.
Then start squishing them – shells and all – and crush them into little pieces. You want to release as much sulfur as you can:
When you’re done crushing the eggs, you can open the bag again and add the jewelry or components you want to oxidize.
If your metal has any large surfaces, you may not want to let it come in contact with the eggs. Sometimes that can result in spotting or uneven oxidizing.
But my project is just a chain and a clasp, and I didn’t need to worry about spotting or unevenness.
So I just rolled up my chain and clasp all mixed in with the egg pieces, rolled up the whole bag, and let them oxidize that way:
After about 15 minutes, you can start checking on the color of your metal:
I decided to leave mine in about five hours altogether, and this is the stage it was in when I decided to take it out:
When you decide your metal is the color you’d like it to be, you can remove it from the bag and wash it thoroughly in soap and water to remove all egg residue:
And here are my finished chain and clasp, after the darkening process:
And this is the necklace that I used them on:
To me, this necklace would not have worked as well with a bright shiny metal. It really needed a darkened, more rustic metal.
So you can see what a fast, easy, and cheap way this is to darken your sterling silver or copper.
Thanks so much for coming in today, and I’ll see you next time! 🙂
Don’t eat the eggs used in the oxidization process. Instead, boil a few extra eggs for eating when you boil the ones you’ll use for oxidizing your metal. 🙂
The Jewelry Rena’s Wearing
in This Video:
These pieces feel like Spring to me!
Necklace – Shell pendant with Artistic Wire bail; Czech glass, freshwater pearls, stick pearls, sterling silver clasp. By Rena Klingenberg.
Earrings – Czech glass beads on copper wire with sterling silver earwires. By Rena Klingenberg. (These earrings were made to go with a different necklace, but I like wearing them with this one too.)