How to use Jax to Antique Sterling Silver
Darkened silver has always been popular and has been used by jewellery designers Dana Kellin and David Yurman, it’s often used to inspire an antique or Victorian theme. Darkening your sterling silver can be an exciting way to add new design elements to your jewellery line, and a great way to expand your market appeal.
The simplest and easiest way to darken your sterling silver is to use a commercial silver darkener which not only ensures quick results but, more importantly, consistent results. Jax Silver Blackener is a great brand to use for this purpose. Jax can be poured into a small glass or plastic bowl, avoid using stainless steel or metal bowls, to make dipping your sterling silver easier, or it can be painted on with a brush ( good for small pieces ). As a cost saving tip, use as little as possible, just enough to cover the silver pieces. It is better to select a small deep dish rather than a wide one.
Darkening silver only takes a few seconds, depending on the amount of silver you’re darkening. You can speed up the process by stirring the silver pieces or oscillating the dish. Make sure to have another dish of fresh water nearby so you can quickly transfer the blackened silver to once it’s done, this avoids over blackening, or burning the pieces. Remember to use only non-metal utensils ( plastic forks, wood chopsticks ) when removing the pieces from the silver darkener. You may also wish to keep the tap running low, this flushes fresh water into the dish to rinse off any residual blackener from the silver pieces. Place the rinsed and darkened silver onto paper towel after patting dry.
If the Jax Silver Blackener has not come into contact with any water, you can keep the fluid for one or two additional uses. Do not pour used blackener back into the bottle as this will affect the potency of the unused fluid, instead, use another clean plastic or glass bottle. Do not keep it if you are unsure of the quality of the used darkener.
Once you’ve darkened your silver, you have a couple design options. You can leave the silver completely darkened and allow the patina to rub off as your jewellery is worn, this is the most ‘antique’ approach to silver darkening. You’re other option is to take it a step further by using fine (000) steel wool to expose some bright silver beneath the darkened sterling silver. This leaves you with a component that has some bright silver highlights but is still dark within the recessed areas of the design.
If you’d like to go even further with your customization, you can use rough steel wool, sandpaper, or even an emery board to further texturize your sterling silver component.
Darkening your silver is a very effective technique to use on filigree beads, filigree components, or raised patterns. When you’re deciding which component to try this technique on, try to visualize where the component will be touched. Anywhere that rubs against the skin will eventually brighten through wear, and anywhere not easily reached will remain dark.
Darkening your silver is a quick and effective way to expand your jewellery line. With a bit of forethought and creative spirit, it can take your jewellery to fantastic new heights.