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topic 1215

How to Antique or Blacken Gold rings and jewelry


2002

Q. Can anyone tell me what "Blackened Gold" is, and how do I do it?

John L [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Boston, Massachusetts


2002

A. Hi, Jack. "Blackened gold" would be gold where the surface has been blackened in some fashion. But as a warning, if you have an order to supply "blackened gold" and you and your customer do not have a firm understanding of exactly what that means, the only people who will be happy are the lawyers who will be billing you both by the hour when the customer refuses to pay you :-)
You need agreed-upon samples before any contracts ensue. But read on for some other people's explanations of what blackened gold means and how they do it. Good luck.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey



Blackening gold jewelry with paint or black nickel plating

1996

Q. Hello, although I assumed that the problem I have is one that has been solved a long time ago, it has been a great struggle for me to find the solution. I need to place a black finish on selected areas of gold jewelry. The problem is that this finish has to be a deep black and as thin as possible. I have tried car paint (Endura) and black nickel plating, but as the areas are small (20 x 20 mm) it proved to be very difficult to apply paint evenly, and I found the nickel not dark enough in color. I am not in the finishing industry and have found it very frustrating to find people that have experience with this type of problem. Thanks,

Robert van Mil
- Toronto Ontario Canada


2004

A. Hi,

Use Duco black paint and Duco thinner. Mix it properly then soak pieces that gold plating is on. Just keep one minute. Remove by the help of cloth; this is called "black antique gold".

Sreenivas.V
- Hyderabad, A.P., India


Environmentally safe antiquing of gold

1998 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. Does anyone have any information on an environmentally safe/friendly solution to antique and/or blacken gold for an antique appearance? Would like to relieve and polish the gold after antiquing.

Bill Christiansen

1998

A. Bill,

As gold is very inert to oxidation the only method I know is to plate a thin coat of black nickel or "Electroblack", an Enequist (from NY) product, then relieve. Hope this helps.

bob lynch
Bob Lynch
     plating company
Sydney, Australia



1997

Q. Bob:

Thanks for the response. We used to use Electroblack but removed it from our plant because of the hazardous chemicals. The latest Gesswein catalog has a product called "Oxaul Salts" which says it blackens gold.

Has anyone out there ever tried it? Is it safe to use? What about disposal? Thanks for your help.

Bill Christiansen



2003

Q. We are a class ring manufacturer. We use the Enequist Electroblack in our gold rings. Suddenly it started peeling off the finished (already blackened) rings. After blackening we polish the high reliefs with polishing compound and wash in alkaline ultrasonic solution, after cleaning we buff and again wash, then dry with air. It is after the buffing that the blackening peels off.

Raul Mendez
manager - Panama


2003

A. This is a proprietary product which comes with technical assistance--that's one of the main reasons for using a more expensive proprietary product instead of a home brew. Please make the supplier aware that are are suffering a problem -- I'm confident they will help you solve this. Good luck.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey



General technique for blackening gold

2007

Q. I would like to antique a gold plated part. Any suggestions on proper technique or chemical?

Robert Baxter
Buyer - Chester, New York


2007

A. Hi Robert. As for techniques, I don't have much aesthetic sense, but I do know that a key to natural-looking aesthetics as well as durability is that you want only the recesses dark, not the high spots. This can be done by chemically darkening the whole item and then relieving (buffing the darkening off of the high spots).

Some answers are above, and others will be below, but one approach is to selectively silver plate some areas and blacken the silver or -- perhaps better -- plate the object with a low karat gold which can be easily chemically blackened because of its high copper content. (High purity gold is very inert, so it's hard to chemically blacken it). Good luck.

If you apply a plating of a dark metal like black nickel instead, it may be more practical to mask the areas that you don't want darkened than to buff the black nickel plating off of the gold plating. Good luck.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey



Liver of Sulphur doesn't work


Q. Hello,
I am trying to re-blacken the keltic knotwork design on my gold wedding band. Could any of you offer advice? I tried "liver of sulphur" Liver of Sulphur [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] but the rose gold ring didn't have enough copper I guess to blacken at all. Now it's been suggested that I try Jax silver/gold blackener, but I have to buy a whole pint! Any suggestions are welcome, especially with respect to what tool to use to apply (dipping, plastic bristle paint brush etc). Thanks for any replies!

PS - I did have a jeweler blacken the ring, but the blackener wore off within 2 weeks. This person was the one who set the stone in the ring and took off the original blackening in the process. Now it looks just like it did after she set the stone. :(

Coleen Harman
- Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


Griffith brand Borax


A. Try to use 10 per cent borax solution, containing a few drops of alcohol. I hope it will solve your problem. Use the solution with a cotton swab.

Riaz Haider
- Lahore, Pakistan


2007

A. I use Iodine, like you buy for cuts, to blacken gold.

John Legere
- Lake Worth, Florida


Antiquing white gold

May 24, 2013 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. I have an 18K white gold ring that has an engraved wheat pattern and tiny beading on the edges. It is too shiny for me and I would like to make it more matte. Is that possible without damaging the integrity of the ring? The diamond has not been set. Thanks!!

Angela Hudson
- Seattle, Washington USA


May 28, 2013

A. Hi Angela. If the ring is rhodium plated, that probably has to be buffed away first. Then the white gold, if still too shiny, can probably be darkened/antiqued with techniques listed on this page. Good luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey



August 17, 2018

Q. Hello All, I purchased an Italian antique lantern some years ago. In it's original condition it was nickel plated bronze and very heavy. Picture an orb about 7" in diameter, with two connecting "wings" facing up, with two long chains connecting the wings to a cupola . It is now wired for electric. The original frosted globe in a flame shape was stolen from me by an antique shop in Alexandria so now I have to spend money to have a globe custom made for it. I took it in for the lighting guy to patina it for me.

I wanted a warmer color so I took it to my gilder. She said it would cost a fortune to gild it, so to have it gold plated first then she would patina it.

Unfortunately, they closed their business and could only finish up projects that were submitted before mine. So I am now stuck with a 24 kt plated fixture which looks horrible -- this fixture should be toned way down.

Actually, I should have done more research because only parts of it should have been gold, the other should have been the traditional brown/black bronze.

I was considering taking it apart and painting certain pieces and leaving smaller areas in gold.

The questions are:

What type of primer and what type of paint is best to use? I have used flat spray and then buffed it up, or used paste wax for a nice sheen, at least on wood and it turned out beautifully.

What should I use to patina the remaining gold, that won't rub off?

Should I paint the entire fixture and using wet/dry extra fine 400 grit sand paper, rub until the desired effect is achieved?

Sprayed or brushed? I am thinking sprayed is best. I am good with painting and have refinished many furnishings, and other objects.

Should I take it back to the plating shop and ask them for some guidance?

Would this answer from Ted Mooney apply to my situation?

"Some answers are above, and others will be below, but one approach is to selectively silver plate some areas and blacken the silver or -- perhaps better -- plate the object with a low karat gold which can be easily chemically blackened because of its high copper content (high purity gold is very inert, so it's hard to chemically blacken it). If you apply a plating of a dark metal like black nickel instead, it may be more practical to mask the areas that you don't want darkened than to buff the black nickel plating off of the gold plating. Good luck."

I have photos. Thank you in advance!

Ronald Dean
- Washington DC
  ^- Privately contact this inquirer -^


August 2018

A. Hi Ronald. You don't find iron or most other metals in metallic form in nature, but only as ores (compounds), because over time such metals react with oxygen, sulfur and water to form compounds instead of staying metallic. In contrast, you do find gold in nature, even after tens of millions of years, because it is so resistant to reacting with anything. So when you are looking for a blackening/darkening chemical that will actually react with pure 24 kt gold, not just be a coating that can rub off, that's a tough requirement.

  gj nikolas banner

If you just want it less shiny, I think what I'd do if I were you is see if a brass lacquer company can offer you a tinted lacquer to tone down the color. You could probably apply 2 coats here, and 3 coats there, and a blotch of a a 4th coat elsewhere to give some gradation if that's important to you. Gold plating is really thin; trying to paint and then rub or sand to thin the paint without removing the gold may prove impossible.

If you actually want black areas, please consider the suggestions in the previous postings.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"


August 30, 2018

thumbs up sign Hi Ted, I have an update. Before I took my automobile in for service yesterday, I remembered that the plating shop is on the same street. It has a new owner, and we had a great conversation and leads to a solution. First, I am going to determine how to balance the look (the lantern is in several pieces supported by a long central screw)then they are going to strip off the gold and nickel plate leaving behind the bronze. The long chain will most likely become all bronze. Then I will work on the finish I want. I have a file of referenced French Empire fixtures that will guide me. It will end up somewhere and I will post the finished result at some point.

Thanks again for your help on this.

Ronald

Ronald Dean
- Washington DC



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