The Humble Egg and it's Oxidization Powers!

>> Friday, March 27, 2009

three of my oxidized sterling rings worn with three polished skinny sterling stacking bands

so i've been experimenting some more with polishes and finishes for my metalwork. i've always loved the look of heavily oxidized sterling silver - the patina is rich and dark and so lovely in contrast to shiny, high polished silver! however, i've been a little reluctant to use silver black or liver of sulfur - the whole chemical thing isn't conducive to pregnancy, you know? so i did a little digging around on the internet and discovered the joys of oxidizing with a hard boiled egg. and yes, it DOES work! i really have to thank my friend lauren from for inspiring me to try this method - because i never would have done it without her encouragement!
i'm posting a little how-to here so that i can share the instructions - and make sure that i don't forget how to do it!
above: here are the rings prior to oxidizing. they've been tumbled for strength and polish. make sure that your pieces are work hardened/tumbled/pretty much finished. i would suspect that if i threw the oxidized pieces back into the tumbler they would just polish back up to a relatively high shine.

here's my hard boiled egg, straight out of the pot and still HOT, in a plastic container that has a tight fitting lid. (i'm assuming that everyone knows how to hard boil an egg, right? if not, let me know.) you can also use a ziploc bag if you like. you need a container that seals. the more pieces you do, the more egg you'll need. i found that one egg worked just fine for these rings.

smoosh the egg, shells and all, in the plastic container or ziploc baggie. i found using a container a little better for me and my pregnancy clumsiness since i'm not too great at handling hot things.
i laid the rings on top of a paper towel on top of the smooshed eggs inside the container. you can also put the pieces right on top of the eggs - i just am a little bit of a neat freak and don't like touching the egg. if you put the pieces right on top of the eggs, it seems to speed up the oxidation process a little. make sure that you cover your container (or zip up your ziploc baggie) to keep the nice sulfur fumes in there!

and here are the rings - all deeply oxidized! this is only after about an hour on top of the warm eggs. i kept the container in the microwave for insulation purposes, hoping to keep the egg warmer for longer.

and here is the finished product! i love the rainbow-y finish that the oxidized rings have - not totally uniformly dark like you would get from some of the chemical methods, but really nice and rustic! who knew that the humble egg could conquer metal like THIS?????


Sparkle-Me! Designs March 27, 2009 at 9:20 AM  

The new and the ox look very nice together. Neat method for oxidizing :)

Alceryn March 28, 2009 at 5:17 AM  

Paper towel is a great idea. I tried it by slicing the egg in half and putting everything into a ziplock bag. It was a bit messy! This is a much neater method. Thanks!

elsiee March 28, 2009 at 2:06 PM  

What a lovely oxidation effect! I took a metal working class and hated the chemicals most of all but hard boiled eggs, now I love them even more!! just discovered your blog on and Etsy forum thread and I'm your latest follower - come on over and visit me sometime:

Brandon March 28, 2009 at 3:07 PM  

very cool, I never knew :)
I too like the rainbow oxidize look! Beautiful shop!


kellyssima March 30, 2009 at 5:03 PM  

wow... it's simpler than I thought... I gotta try that! :)

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