Learning Center


Patinas on metal objects can be beautiful. Our Patination section covers techniques and materials you’ll need to safely add patinas to metal jewelry.

Midas Liver of Sulfur XL Gel

Use Midas® XL Gel to patina metals such as sterling silver, copper and bronze. It is formulated for extended shelf life, versatility and convenience. Midas XL Gel may be used in its ready form or by mixing 1 teaspoon of gel with 12 oz. of heated…

Tips & Techniques for Popular Finishing Touches

We asked a number of top jewelers to tell us their best practices, techniques, and tips for creating satin, brushed, and hammered finishes as well as patinas on jewelry. Take notes – you’ll want to test these popular finishing touches…

Helen Shirk: Patterns of Growth

Last fall, the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis, Tennessee hosted a retrospective of the work of Helen Shirk. Nearly 70 pieces, from her early silver work in the late 1960s, to her recent patinated copper and brass vessels, confirmed…

A Conversation with Michael Rowe

Michael Rowe uses functional containers as a base from which to explore formal studies of space, form and balance, which are enhanced by his expressive use of patination. His holloware gains strength from the fact that he is not distracted…

Patination for Small Scale Studio Use

In recent years there has been an increased interest in patination and metal coloring. This may be seen as a response to the use of nonprecious metals in jewelry. A trend towards objectmaking in North America has produced relatively large surface…

Cupric Nitrate Patination of Metals

This patination solution gives you a range of greens, olives, browns, black, turquoise and yellow-greens on many metals because it is a surface finish. It is quite adhesive and controllable. You do however need adequate ventilation.

A Method of Steel Patination

As part of a large scale patination project in which I patinated a steel roof surface 24 by 48 feet on both sides I performed some 40 experiments to find out how to patinate the steel which was a requirement for structural reasons. In doing so I also…

Patination by Copper and Copper Alloy Fuming

Patination is a technique which has become popular for some kinds of fashion jewellery in recent years. Usually a patina requires the application of a toxic chemical mixture or the conversion of the metal surface to a salt of it’s metal. For…

Using Liver of Sulfur

This is a mixture of potassium sulfides which has traditionally been used to darken or ‘antique’ silver and bronzes. This is usually called ‘oxidizing’ the surface though it has nothing to do with oxygen, what is really happening is that sulfur…

Brief Notes on Shakudo

As with most Japanese metal coloring methods the techniques are metallurgically based rather than solution oriented; in the West we tend to use a myriad of coloring solutions and limited number of alloys; in Japan there are a limited number…

Iridescent Patina Recipe

This is the basic recipe for the iridescent patina. This patina is most effective on highly textured pieces, such as torch texture, rollerprinted and reticulation. It has a slight color interference pattern, similar to oil on water. It has…

Patinating Brass Alloys Using Contact Plating

This procedure should be undertaken with appropriate precautions; goggles, gloves, protective clothing, adequate ventilation. Recently I have been presented with the problems of repairing or changing the color of Indian made polished…

Patina Formulas

The surface of metals may be colored, a patina added either chemically or with heat. Patinas are generally achieved by causing the metal present to react with another element. It may be the air forming oxides or another chemical added to bond…

The Patina Studio

It is impossible to pretend that a single description of tools, materials, and equipment will suit all needs. Obviously these elements will depend on the scale of the work you do, the layout of your studio, and the resources at your disposal.…

Testing Japanese Patina Solutions

It is important to understand that many variables will affect patina results. Our tests were made on smooth, rolled metal. Textures will change the color, and cast metal has a different structure that can also influence color. These samples…

Japanese Special Patinas

The rich history of Japanese patinas is the result of hundreds of years of experimentation, innovation and tradition. This article covers some special Japanese Patinas; Wara-ibushi, Nuri-iro, Iroe-do, Ryuka (Sulfuration and Concentrate),…

The Foundation of Japanese Patinas

Niage is an important Japanese patina, and one of the most basic. It has been used as the base color on copper and copper alloys for centuries, and today it is also used as a final patina. As is true of all the recipes given here, these proportions…

Introduction to Japanese Alloys

Japanese artists have contributed significantly by using their unique alloys in innovative combinations. Perhaps the best example of this is mokume-gane, a lamination process in which layers of various alloys are manipulated to create…

Patination Safety Considerations

Jewelers use so-called -oxidising- solutions to darken metals like silver, copper, brass, nickel silver, bronze and, with specialized mixtures, on gold. Metalsmiths patinate both large and small objects, as well as jewelry. We usually…

Liver of Sulfur 101

Liver of sulfur, a stinky jewelry studio standby, can be used to create beautiful patinas on Silver, Silver Precious Metal Clay or Art Clay.

Resists and Electroplating to Create Patterns

With the ever-higher cost of precious metals, many jewelers are increasingly working with non-precious metals such as stainless steel, titanium, and copper. As jewelers design with these materials, color and pattern development have…