Well, I've been working with alot of oxidized, or "antique" silver components lately. Last night, I realized that I was out of clasps! So, it was time (once again), for me to become resourceful and make some of my own. Did you know that this very moment you have all of the necessary items needed for such an endeavor? Do you have any idea how simple the process is? Heck, I'll even tell you how it works!
Now, personally...I do not eat eggs! I AM an obsessive baker, so I always have some just hanging out in my fridge. When i need to oxidize metal (always silver), I just grab my carton of eggs! That's right, eggs! I'm sure you've seen the "Liver Of Sulphur" for sale in the jewelry supply stores. Have you noticed that whenever you cook eggs, they really stink? That's sulphur, and it's a product produced by the yolk of the egg! Are you ready to "go antiquing"? Well, grab your eggs and listen-up! First, I get out my pennies! I can spare some of those!
First things first! Put (I recommend 3) eggs on to boil. I boil mine 10 minutes. You can't overcook, but you CAN under cook! Do 10 min., just to be safe! I usually only need 2 eggs, but I'd rather have too many than not enough! If you like eggs, eat the unused one!
You have to suspend your items, so I use a dark-colored thread and tie knots to keep the items from touching!
I use craft glue to affix the end of the thread between 2 pennies. If you're in a hurry, use your glue gun (being careful not to burn yourself)!!
Next, you have to find a "platform" of some kind to suspend your little "component clothesline". You'll need to wash the items when done, they'll be stinky! Put them as far back inside a gallon zip loc bag, being sure the items you'll be oxidizing don't touch anything (including the baggie).
When your eggs have cooked (while they are very hot), place 2 of them just inside the baggie. Zip the bag shut. MAKE SURE THE BAG IS COMPLETELY CLOSED!! Grab a tablespoon and begin to jab and squish the eggs. Again, the yolk is the important part of the egg!! Jab and squish until you have made the most of destroying the yolk to release the maximum amount of sulphur!
Be careful when jabbing, not to puncture the bag! Now, go make an egg salad sandwich and watch TV or busy yourself somehow for 1 hour. Now, you can let the stuff sit for well over an hour..it really depends on how dark you want the item(s) to be, or other obligations that take you away from the task at hand. If the item(s) are too dark, get out some steel wool and rub the things until you like the result.
(ABOVE is a pic of the difference between a clasp (silver plated) that I left in a similar bag for 2 hours.
BELOW are my results after 1 hour. I apologize for the blurriness of this photo. NOW, you may read elsewhere that this doesn't work on plated items, only pure silver. I refused to listen and have always used this method exclusively on silver plated components with only 1 failure! The items that failed had a vast section of very smooth, polished, plated silver. The result was very blotchy. I intend to go back to the items and experiment with roughing-up the items with steel wool prior to treating them. I have also used this product on gold plated items. Gold plated items oxidize VERY quickly, so keep a close eye on those! Good luck, have fun, and don't allow fear of failure to destroy your creativity! Aprilee