This method of etching uses a prepared ferric chloride solution which also contains hydrochloric acid. This “etchant” is not a pure acid, but etches copper and copper alloys (like brass and bronze). It will not work on silver. It is available from electronics supply shops, such as Radio Shack or from chemical suppliers. It is generally used to clean or etch copper circuit boards. It can also be found at some print-makers’ supply stores.
These advanced techniques assume that you have basic jewelry and metalworking skills. We offer these technical papers, originally presented as workshops, in a spirit of sharing information. We assume no liability for safety and health issues — those are your responsibility. Please read Artist Beware by Michael McCann (PDF) or The Artist’s Complete Health & Safety Guide by Monona Rossol.
Staedtler Lumocolour #313, #317 – RED; our experience shows that the transparent red works best, but all transparent colours, eg. green and blue, seem to work as well. The opaque black tends to lift off during the etching process (it may be that it has more pigment to make it opaque).
Sharpie permanent pens. We found they do not adhere as well as the Staedtler Red, but other jewelers have mentioned using them. Experiment with different brands to find the one you prefer.
Cello tape, clear and brown packing tape (Grand & Toy call it “Tan Tape”, a brown cello tape)
This specialized technique is described on another page. First you should read the methods described below.
Ganoksin is the worlds largest educational internet site for the jewelry, gemology and metals field. We also offer an online orchid community which has emerged from this project. Learn more