Blacked Silver: Spectacular Products With the Work of Time

Matte, smooth silver items inlaid with turquoise, jasper, opal and rock crystal are usually more suitable for young people aged 16-17. Ladies over 25 often prefer more complex and sophisticated jewelry. Although, of course, the spectrum of “influence” of blackened silver is much wider. What is real “niello”, why oxidized jewelry loses its appearance over time – we understand the nielloing of silver in detail.

What Is Silver Tarnishing?

Patination or blackening of silver is a decorative finishing technique that allows you to obtain a deep original color. Niello is considered the most ancient method of creating a rich pattern on a relief or ornament of silver (less often gold) products and highlighting the texture with a touch of time.

To create a patina, craftsmen use 925 silver, where 92.5% is the base metal and only 7.5% is the alloy.

What Products Are Niello Applied To?

The blackening technology emphasizes the character not only of jewelry, but also of interior items: frames for mirrors and panels, snuff boxes, cutlery and dishes.

Products with niello look original in the contrast of reliefs, ornaments, precious stones and the matte surface of silver.

Blackening: Which Silver Is Suitable?

Silver in its pure form – 99.9% – is characterized by high ductility, which is why it is unprofitable to use it when creating jewelry or household items – products quickly deform and scratches appear on them.

The ligature in the composition allows you to achieve better strength. Items from this ratio are marked 925 and withstand decorative processing well.

Decorative techniques for silver items can be used alone or combined. For example, filigree is also often blackened, as is rhodium plated or silver coated with ruthenium. What is characteristic is that a thin but durable layer of metals belonging to the platinum group – rhodium and ruthenium – changes the shade of silver, making it more noble and protecting the niello itself.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Blackened Silver Products

Spectacular products that speak of the status and taste of the owner not only go perfectly with any type of clothing or – regarding household items – interior style, but also have other advantages:

Blackened silver is easier to care for. There are no visible traces of oxidation or other dark deposits on it.

They have high strength and bactericidal properties.

They remain fashionable and in demand at any time and generation.

Silver blackened products have no flaws. But, of course, in the case when it comes to the correct blackening techniques.

Silver Blackening Techniques

The essence of traditional blackening is that alloys of copper, lead and sulfur are fused into the recesses on the surface of the product. At the same time, when heated, a reaction occurs between the metals, as a result of which a monolithic compound of black color occurs, which does not fade over time.

Niello looks beautiful on high-quality gold and silver, but on low-grade metal it crumbles and peels off.

How to Blacken Silver With Sulfur?

To create a darkening effect, you will need sulfur ointment. You can buy it at the pharmacy.

Apply the ointment to the selected areas with a thin brush and heat them with a hairdryer. Under the influence of high temperature, the sulfur will begin to boil and oxidize the silver. After completion, the surface of the product is polished with a brush and toothpaste. This should be done extremely carefully so as not to damage the decorative layer.

If necessary, the process is repeated.

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Blackening With Iodine

With this method, quite original shades are obtained on silver: from gray-violet to brown. Of course, calling this blackening is quite a stretch, but on relief jewelry with deep recesses, this looks good. And for embodiment you only need iodine.

It is applied with a cotton swab and the product is left to dry under ultraviolet light.

Caring for Items Made of Blackened Silver

To remove dust and dirt, silver items are regularly washed, wiped and dried. Both the care of silver and its storage have certain rules.

Blackened silver does not tolerate high temperatures and aggressive chemical environments. All silver items should be wiped with a soft cloth and stored in a place protected from the sun and moisture.

Cleaning Silver

Cleaning silver items from black means nothing more than getting rid of corrosion. Oxide may appear over time as a result of improper storage or be the result of oxidation.

Typically, oxidation has a greenish-gray tint and is fairly easy to remove by simply boiling it with a couple of teaspoons of baking soda. This method can be useful for cleaning not only silverware, but also jewelry.

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