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How can I generate silver tarnish


My son wants to do a science project on REMOVING silver tarnish. Now we need to know how to rapidly GENERATE it. Any ideas?

Carol Parker
- Durham, North Carolina

Easy question. Eat one boiled egg with one silver spoon. Wash the spoon in the normal way. They will always tarnish. Problem. As I have fallen on hard times for many years and now eat my eggs with stainless steel spoons, I am afraid that I can not remember just how long it takes for them to tarnish. About the only thing I do remember is that it seemed very fast at the time. Probably a few days at the most. I am sure that many sulfur [affil links] containing compounds will do the same thing. How about photographic hypo (I think that is sodium metabisulphate). Good luck

John Holroyd
- Elkhorn, Wisconsin

If you could get one of those 1000 year old eggs which are common fare for the chinese, you could tarnish silver fast. A friend of mine bought one for me to eat, as much as I tried, I could not bring the egg within 2 inches of my face, the strength of the sulfide smell was completely overpowering to me. She didn't have any trouble with eating the egg, which amazed me.

tom & pooky   toms signature
Tom Pullizzi
Falls Township, Pennsylvania

Boil an egg, let cool, mash the egg yolk with your silver metal, fork-spoon-dish-whatever, place it in a sealed plastic baggie and put in the refrigerator overnight--both the silver and the yolk-and you will have a black silver tarnish in the AM. Two days for a heavier tarnish, or two eggs. Feed the residue to the dog or cat.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

Hi, Carol.

You can also see letter 1178 for a lot more discussion. Good luck.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

For my psychology class, I want to bring in a mirror for my public statement, but I want to make it tarnish overnight so that I can slowly rub away the tarnish in front of the class as a symbol of perfection and how everything's perfect on the inside. How can I make my silver hand mirror tarnish overnight?

Kristin S.
student - Lakewood, Ohio

Liver of Sulfur [on eBay or Amazon (adv.)] , an inexpensive compound warmed and mixed with water, is used by silver smiths to produce a dark patina in a matter of minutes. Liver of sulfur can be purchased from a jewelers supply, or possibly from your local jeweler. If you are lucky, the jeweler may even give you a small piece, as he probably doesn't use it very often.

Bill Lichirie
- Atlanta, Georgia, USA
April 18, 2011

Liver of Sulfur

on eBay or


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