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Patina for Pewter

Q. We are a company producing cast pewter bowls and decorative items. We have been in business for almost twenty years.
The alloy we use is 92% tin, 7.5% antimony, .5% copper.
We know of a pewter artist in Norway who produces pieces with beautiful patinas in a variety of colours (gold, purple, blue) - these are colours we see on the surface of our pewter when it has solidified in the melting pot at the end of the day. We have also seen the similar colours in some Canadian pieces. We would like to know how to reproduce these colours in our work. Are there oxidizing agents we can use? Is the patina dependent on copper composition? Are the colours dependent on temperature? How can the colours be controlled.

Ray Will
Manufacturer - pewter casting - St. Philips, Newfoundland, Canada
September 28, 2008

A. There is at least one possible process-according to one old ex USSR book, you can electrolytically colour tin with next solution: 8 gm copper sulphate, 125 gm sodium tetraborate ;1 lit water,0.005 A/dm2, 3-20 minutes, you must use copper anode, object=cathode! Yellow,red,green and blue colour. Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh Croatia
October 2, 2008

Q. Hi there,

I am an amateur pewter enthusiast and I am hoping someone can advise me on how to create a gold or coppery patina on pewter. I would rather do this chemically than use a gold stain or paint, as this is intended for rings and a paint would probably wear off quickly.

I have access to two small kilns, so heat treatment is also possible depending on what you folks can suggest.

Many thanks

Danielle Eriksen
unofficial pewtering apprentice! - Cape Town, South Africa
November 6, 2013

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