Friday, May 8, 2009

Experimenting with Patina

I recently created a Romanov chain maille weave using copper wire and some amazonite rounds. ( see below). I loved how it came out...I admit I am a real fan of keeping the metal as natural as possible......but the jewelry I make is not for me (well, not ALL of it!) and more often than not, I see buyers are more attracted to the aged, patinaed wire in the pieces. I resisted for a while but tried the hard boiled egg approach to darkening copper. Well, it didn't work for me, and rather than order some liver of sulphur, I decided to try a different approach after reading a conversation on one of the wire wrap groups. Sherry - aka Dancingfeather - spoke about using Gun Blue (read the Wikipedia story here ) in place of the liver of sulphur. After searching high and low, I finally found it at the hardware store in town. So this is the bracelet with no patina on it.

I dipped the whole bracelet in the Gun Blue - I was a little leery of dipping the stone in the solution, but I threw caution to the wind and dipped the entire bracelet into a jar (old fancy jelly jar with a strong twist on lid)and left it there for a few minutes since I really had no idea of how fast it would work - (and now is the time to tell you that before I used the patina on it, I cleaned the whole piece in a lemon juice and salt mixture - that takes off all surface dirt and oil) but just those few minutes was long enough for the piece to darken considerably.

Close up of a link with no patina:And here's the link after the patina was added.

The "after" picture is a bit washed out, but you can see the difference. I like the darker tone the copper has taken on - makes the amazonite rounds really pop!
Would be interested in hearing about your experiments with adding patina to your pieces....what do you use? how long do you leave a piece in the solution? what do you use to wipe it down and clean it up further? I used a sunshine cloth - and then a soft clean rag to finish it off. Has anybody used a tumbler? Would love to know how that works!


Anne said...

I am confused. The pictures before the patina look darker than the ones after the patina had taken.How come? In fact I can't see the patination!
But as to the romanov with the amazonite, I love it, whichever way!

mrs beadsley said...

It's probably because I got a new imaging editor and am not entirely familiar with it - I am going to post a new picture that (hopefully) captures the patina better than those photos.