Safer Pickle Alternative


1 Minute Read

This article was originally posted on Userblogs on 7/23/2016.
By Shawna KulpaMore from this author

Procrastination can sometimes lead to wonderful discoveries. Tom Arnold, owner of Facets Fine Jewelry in Arlington, Virginia, found this out first hand, when his avoidance of a particularly nasty sizing job led him to whittle away some time on a jewelers online forum.

He came across a discussion about how citric acid was a much safer pickle alternative than the more standard sulfuric acid, and how it was available by the pound at most chemical supply houses. Arnold's idea of a chemical supply house is his local supermarket, so off he went that evening to do a little shopping. On a hunch, he was drawn to the soft-drinks section. It was in that aisle that he discovered unsweetened Kool-Aid, the first ingredient of which is citric acid.

Thrilled by the prospect of a new discovery (and still actively avoiding that sizing job), he bought a package for 35 cents to test out in his shop. He mixed one package of the powdered drink with a half-pint of tap water and voilá: homemade pickle.

Arnold doesn't believe the flavor matters, although he does say that grape would probably be too hard to see into. He uses his Kool-Aid pickle daily and says that one package can last several months. Although it's slower to act than sulfuric acid, Arnold is patient, and he enjoys the other benefits that Kool-Aid offers: It doesn't dissolve his tools and, since it's Kool-Aid, there are no special disposal requirements.

He also found an additional bonus of his homemade pickle: "The smell of tropical punch drifting across the bench when you throw a hot piece of metal into it is great," he says.

In association with

The award-winning Journal is published monthly by MJSA, the trade association for professional jewelry makers, designers, and related suppliers. It offers design ideas, fabrication and production techniques, bench tips, business and marketing insights, and trend and technology updates—the information crucial for business success. “More than other publications, MJSA Journal is oriented toward people like me: those trying to earn a living by designing and making jewelry,” says Jim Binnion of James Binnion Metal Arts.

Click here to read our latest articles
Click here to get a FREE four-month trial subscription.

You assume all responsibility and risk for the use of the safety resources available on or through this web page. The International Gem Society LLC does not assume any liability for the materials, information and opinions provided on, or available through, this web page. No advice or information provided by this website shall create any warranty. Reliance on such advice, information or the content of this web page is solely at your own risk, including without limitation any safety guidelines, resources or precautions, or any other information related to safety that may be available on or through this web page. The International Gem Society LLC disclaims any liability for injury, death or damages resulting from the use thereof.


Shawna Kulpa

The All-In-One Jewelry Making Solution At Your Fingertips

When you join the Ganoksin community, you get the tools you need to take your work to the next level.

Become a Member

Trusted Jewelry Making Information & Techniques

Sign up to receive the latest articles, techniques, and inspirations with our free newsletter.