Blackening Silver with Liver of Sulfer

I noticed we have liver of sulfer in the jewelry shop. Is there a designated crockpot for heating it? Or bowl? Or something? Anyone have experience with it that would mind a few questions? I’ve been reading about using it. From what I gather dipping it for a minute then rinsing and dipping again is best for a more durable blackening. Ratio of water to sulfer solution doesn’t seem consistent. What have you found best? How hot might it need to be? Just mixed with hot steamy water? and sealing ones pieces to prolong the blackening, Some of what I read about it didn’t make sense the way it was written. I’m basically looking to blacken all the grooves in the background of the twisted wire in typical western jewelry fashion. Any help is appreciated.

Goodness. I haven’t used liver of sulphur for decades, mostly because of what you describe. The go to is a terellium hydrochloride solution.

If LoS is all that’s available, I’d apply directly and warm the ring. A toothpick is spongy enough to carry a small amount and precise though to apply directly where you want. Then warm the piece to activate the chemical.


Gloves and vapor mask, and only do this in a well ventilated area.

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I find that blackening the whole thing and then buffing off works well to leave the high spots shiny and crevices dark. Looks more like natural patina than trying to direct it only to the areas you want dark.

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@David_Heffley Do you know if we have any of the THS in the space? What method is used when using this solution? Also is THS known by another name? A google search didn’t turn up a hit. Thanks for the safety heads up as well. As for the precision placement, I could give it a go I suppose, but I was hoping to dip rinse, dip rinse, dip rinse, to get it really dark like I was reading about.

@SteveF thats what I was thinking too, blackening the whole thing and then buff the high spots. Even with applying patina to a small area, I think some buffing of the high spots would still be required where I got it on parts it was not wanted. PLus perhaps fast to just buff off high spots than attempting precision blackening. I suppose it may also depend on the piece. I am sure there are times it’s better to be precise. All just depends on the piece itself I think.

How do you typically blacken it? dip and soak? what ratio of LoS to hot water? or perhaps just water and then heat the water with a torch. Somethings I read said most workspaces would have a crock for heating it, but if dangerous fumes, I can understand why we dont have that.

This is something I’ve only done infrequently so I’m not sure how it would work best for a makerspace setup. I’ve always just put a small amount of it into some fairly hot water and dipped in the piece. It starts to turn black almost immediately… and then I dispose of it. I once tried to reuse some premixed stuff that was maybe two weeks old and it took a lot longer to change color so I never did it again.