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Friday, July 4, 2014

Black Max Patina

Right now I am busy making jewelry for an upcoming show.  (My last show went great, so I'm a little low on inventory!)  Yesterday I was working with some silver metal clay that I had just fired, so thought I'd take a couple of behind the scenes pictures.

A patina is a coloring that we put on the metal, usually to show detail.  In this case, I had some earring components that had Chinese characters stamped in them, and I want to make sure the characters are visible.  Silver is so reflective, that unless I do something, they will be hard to see.

Below is what they look like when I start.  Here they are all shiny, because I have run them through the tumbler.  The Black Max is in the jar.  It looks like really dark pee!  But it will turn black on the silver.

I could just dip them in the Black Max, but then that's more black to gunk up the steel shot in my tumbler.  So I decided just to paint the detail with the patina, and that way, hopefully, it would polish up quicker and be less dirty on my shot.

Here are the pieces after I painted them:

Next I put them in my tumbler with the steel shot and burnishing compound and tumble them for awhile.  The surface gets clean but the shot doesn't get into the recesses, so those don't get clean.  That's the plan anyway.

Here they are in my tumbler:

After tumbling for awhile, the letters/characters are black, and the rest is shiny silver.  I didn't take a picture of them because I was too anxious to make the earrings.

Here is a picture of the finished product:

Hope you enjoyed that quick look at Black Max patina.  Do you ever use patina?  What kind of patina do you like to use?


  1. Beautiful work as always from you, Roxanne. Those pagoda earrings are so charming. I like to use liver of sulfur for metal. I have not heard of Black Max. I will have to check into it. For the polymer clay, I use colored waxes and buff like crazy until only the deeply embedded stuff remains, and is not rubbing off on white cloth.
    Very interesting post!

    1. Thanks Anna! Actually, the little bit of Black Max in that jar was given to be by a silversmith. I couldn't find my liver of sulfur and asked her if she happened to have any. She uses Black Max instead and was kind enough to give me what you see in the jar. It is my preferred patina if I want black.

  2. What lovely pieces! It was very interesting to see the process behind the jewelry. I'm guessing you will do excellent at your next show as well! :)

  3. Interesting! This is all new to me as I'm not a jewelry maker. What a neat method, thanks for sharing.

  4. They are gorgeous pieces. I bet they sell quickly.

  5. Interesting technique! The earrings are lovely. The "problem" of low inventory due to many sales is a good thing! :)

  6. Gorgeous work, Roxanne. Congrats on the show doing well and I hope you have many more that go well. bet those pagoda earrings fly out of your booth. They are so unique. Thank you for sharing your process with us.

  7. Thanks everyone! Actually my show turned out to be kind of a bust :(
    I'm not taking it personally. It was the weekend of the bad storms and the "derecho", as it's called, followed us all the way from Des Moines back to Indiana! Even though the show was indoors, the weather was so horrible apparently it kept a lot of people away.

  8. Those are really gorgeous, Roxanne. I loved watching your creative process.