LpxRanchDesigns is Upfront


There are several different methods to use to get an "antiqued" finish for your jewelry, all have their advantages and disadvantages.

n       Pieces should be final polished before oxidizing.

n       Use liver of sulfur and chemical oxidizers only in well ventilated areas.

n       You can achieve an extremely good antiqued effect by partially removing the
      oxidized surface using very fine steel wool (#0000) after the piece has been treated.

n       Tumbling the piece treated with liver of sulfur using Sunsheen polishing compound
      after removing the undesired oxidation will produce a gunmetal-like (almost black)
      sheen as opposed to the normal matte black finish.

Chemical Oxidizers

For the most part, chemical oxidizers such as Silver Black, Black Max, and Win-Ox are considered hazardous materials and care should be taken when using them.

Wear the proper protect equipment (gloves, safety goggles, etc) and use only in a well ventilated area, as the fumes can be toxic.

From my experience, the chemical oxidizers work quickly and produce a VERY BLACK base on the jewelry.  Most people I know who use these products apply the chemicals to the jewelry using either a Q-tip or small brush in order to control the amount of "blackness".

(I have heard some complaints about the chemicals "leeching out" after a time and the finish wearing off.)

Both Black Max and Win-Ox will antique gold and gold-filled jewelry.

Liver of Sulfur

Liver of Sulfur is perhaps the most effective, but smelly (like rotten eggs) oxidizer for silver.  It produces a durable black finish that penetrates the metal making it more resistant to wearing off than chemical oxidizers.

Wear the proper protect equipment (gloves, safety goggles, etc) and use only in a well ventilated area, as the fumes can be toxic.

Either the jewelry piece or the liver of sulfur solution should be hot for the most effective color transfer.

Liver of Sulfur may be purchased in two different forms: solid and liquid. 

To use the liquid, simply pour the necessary amount into a disposable container and heat the solution.  When you can see steam rising from the solution, it is ready.

To use the solid (rock) form, heat 1-2 cups of water in a disposable container until hot.  Drop a pea-sized piece of the liver of sulfur into the water and stir (I use a plastic spoon) until the liver of sulfur has dissolved.

Dip your jewelry piece in the solution and let it sit until the desired color is achieved.  Remove the piece from the solution and rinse it under cool water to stop the oxidation process.

(The cooler the solution, the longer the process will take.  It is possible to get browns, golds, blues and purples, with a cooler solution.)

The solution will remain potent as long as it is yellow in color.

Once it has turned clear and there are grey flakes in the bottom of the container, the solution may be discarded by pouring down the drain followed with copious amount of water.

Tumbling the piece using Sunsheen polishing compound after removing the undesired

Hard Boiled Egg

A safe and effective alternative to liver of sulfur and chemical oxidizers, hard boiled eggs produce a similar effect, but take a longer time to work...thus allowing the user to better control the darkness of the piece.

Old eggs tend to work better than new eggs for this process.

Hard boil an egg and peel it right away while it is still hot.

Cut the egg into quarters and place into the clear container holding (but not touching) your jewelry while the egg is still hot.  Close the container immediately.

The silver will start tarnishing and until you get a good feel for the process, you will probably want to check the piece every 5-10 minutes to see the progress.  Do not open up the container...instead try to see the progress through the drip of condensation on the sides of the container.

If the container is set out on the counter, if will take about 1-2 hours for the piece to get sufficiently dark.

If the container is put in the refrigerator, it may be left over night (the process is not as fast in the colder environment).


A 50% solution of bleach and water will darken silver jewelry in about 10 minutes





Wire can be very confusing subject for people just starting out in wire working. It comes in an infinite combination of sizes, shapes, hardness and materials.




There are many standards used around the world today for sizing wire.


The most common one used in the United States is the American Wire Gauge (AWG), and in Canada and Europe, the Standard Wire Gauge (SWG).


Like knitting needles: the smaller the number, the thicker the wire.


Gauge Size Approximate Diameter
14 1.6 mm
16 1.3 mm
18 1.0 mm
20 0.8 mm
22 0.6 mm
24 0.5 mm
26 0.4 mm


For wire wrapping, 20 gauge wire is a good all round size to start out with.


For chain maille, 18 ga or 16 ga makes nice heavy jump ring that are easy to close properly.




Wire comes in a variety of shapes including round, half round, square, triangle and rectangle. Round is the most common and versatile shape.


You can also order patterned wire, which is usually rectangle wire that has a pattern “stamped” or “rolled” on one or both sides.




Wire comes in various degrees of hardness: dead soft, half-hard, and hard are the most common.


All wire starts out as dead soft, and as it is pulled through a draw plate the wire becomes harder, because the molecules are becoming rearranged.


A good rule of thumb for beginners is that for 20 ga and smaller wire use half hard, 18 ga and larger wire, use dead soft.




Wire can be made out of almost any metal, or combinations of metal. Some examples include:


Fine Silver
(99.9% pure silver)


Sterling Silver
(92.5% silver and 7.5% copper)


Karat Gold






German Silver






Silver or Gold Plate


(20% karat gold over a base metal core)


For the most part, fine silver is not used because it is too soft and does not hold it’s shape well, especially in the smaller sizes.


Copper is a good metal to start out with and for practicing techniques. It is relatively cheap, readily available, and similar in consistency to sterling silver.