The methods and results in applying a patina to different metals are varied. I have only applied a patina to silver jewellery but by doing some research I have discovered information and results on other metals. As you will discover in this post.The chemical method I use to patina my silver jewellery is Liver of Sulfur.
I apply a patina finish to my silver jewellery by making up a solution of warm water and Liver of Sulfur. Then I place the jewellery in the solution for a period of time depending on the result I want. The reason is the longer I leave it in the solution the darker it gets.
Here are a couple of recipes for the following patina results
With 2 cups of room temperature water, add about 1/4 teaspoon of liver of sulphur, a Teaspoon of cloudy ammonia and stir. It should turn the colour of the water a golden yellow. The more liver of sulphur the darker and faster the colour. The slower the process by using cooler water and left in the solution for long, will make the patina more durable.
Place your metal into the solution and quickly remove it . Check your result. If the solution is cool it will be slightly darkened or it may be dark grey. The longer you have the metal in the solution the darker it will get so to get the result you are looking for you need to keep checking your piece until it is the colour you want. To neutralize the metal so it doesn’t get any darker place it in a solution of bi-carb and water. Then rinse and polish your piece as desired. To complete the antique look rub the high spot of the metal with fine sand paper.
Silver is the best metal to get a rainbow patina. The coverage on the metal can be patch or total cover depending how you place the metal into the solution.
To make this patina solution again using 2 cups cool water and also have the neutralizing solution ready but add 1 tablespoon ammonia. The ammonia makes the colour vibrant more than the antique patina solution.
To get the effect you desire place the piece in the solution and remove quickly and put it in the neutralizing solution straight away. Then check the colour if you would like it darker repeat the process until you get the result you want.
The colour you can achieve one after the other is gold, green, pink, blues, purples, greys and then lastly black.
You will get different affects by the way you place your piece into the solution so I suggest to have some fun and experiment and see what affects you can achieve.
Here are the following methods and results of applying Liver of Sulfur to other metals I researched.
Metals Range Of Colours Possible
Fine Silver – Straw gold, green pink, blue, purple, grey and black
Sterling Silver – Straw gold, green pink, blue, purple, grey and black
Argentium Silver – Straw gold, green pink, blue, purple, grey and black
Brass – Brown to black tones
Bronze – Brown to black tones
Copper – Brown to black tones