I’ve gotten quite a few questions about oxidizing jewelry with eggs recently, so I thought I’d post about it. There are a lot of chemicals involved in classic silversmithing. I’m an organic girl, so I’m always working to find organic alternatives to the chemicals and processes involved in silversmithing. Plus, I work in my house, and who wants nasty chemicals in their house?
Pieces oxidized with eggs never turn that dark black color that you get with Liver of Sulfur, but you can get a lovely deep gray.
- a really air-tight, sturdy ziploc bag (the freezer ones work well)
- an egg
- the jewelry that you want to oxidize
1) Put your jewelry into the air-tight ziploc bag. Don’t try to oxidize too many pieces at once. I usually do 1-2 necklaces or 3-4 pairs of earrings at a time.
2) Hard boil an egg, dry it off, and put it in the bag boiling hot (shell and all).
3) Blow air into the bag (like inflating a balloon) and seal it.
4) Once the bag is closed, move the egg to a corner and then crush it. Moving it into a corner means you don’t pop the bag. Be careful - the egg is hot!
5) Flip the bag every 5 minutes or so at the beginning if you need both sides of your piece to oxidize evenly. Make sure that your jewelry doesn’t end up under the egg! After about 30 minutes you can leave it to sit.
6) Check occasionally to make sure there’s no water forming between your piece and the bag, because wet metal doesn’t oxidize. If there is, move your piece around a bit to get it out of the water.
I usually leave pieces for an hour or two. Leaving them overnight will get you a really dark gray color. Please note that I generally oxidize the pieces before I set the stones, both because I don’t want water behind the stones and because some porous stones may change color during the oxidizing process.
Be sure to check out my organic pickle recipe and my organic silver polish recipe as well. And if anyone has a good organic recipe for etching acid, I’d love to hear about it!