How patination in silver works by Annika Rutlin
The evenings are already drawing in and we are always in awe of the wondrous beauty of nature in the English countryside.
Autumn mists envelope the coastline, whilst leaves spiral around us, as I walk in the grip of the icy wind hinting at the wintry embrace to come. Foliage gradually fades from a lush green to red, golden and brown tones.
How does this happen?
As the season changes, the chlorophyll (the chemical within the leaves that makes them green) breaks down leaving chemicals such as Carotene behind. These residual chemicals give the leaves their yellow, brown and red hues.
Jewellers also rely on chemicals to change the colour of the metals in their creations. The colouring of metal is often referred to as patination.
One of the most well known natural patinas is verdigris - a beautiful blue-green effect that is often seen on copper and brass surfaces as they are aged and weathered by the elements.
Want to speed up this process and create your own verdigras? Simply submerge your copper or brass object in a solution of vinegar and salt and then bake it in a conventional oven.
Oxidisation is another natural chemical process that affects silver.
You may have experienced this yourself, particularly if you have ever worn your silver jewellery in a chlorine treated swimming pool... the silver tarnishes and darkens, not always a welcome result (check out or Blog on removing oxidisation if you need help with this one).
Jewellers sometimes speed up this naturally tarnishing process by introducing the silver to sulfides (Liver of Sulphur solution or Ammonium Hydro-Sulphide) to give a design a dark/ antique look, or to produce contrasting effects within a design.
Oxidisation has been used to great effect within Annik Rutlin's Raven Jewellery Collection, reflecting the darkness of the feathers and giving this concept a more ancient Norse feel whilst also bringing out the details within the bird designs. 
If you like this dramatic contrasting effect, heightened by the autumnal feel of the red gold highlights, then check out the full range at Annika Rutlin Jewellery, or contact Annika to have a piece designed especially for you.
01273 583485


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Meet the Author

Jeweller designer and maker Annika Rutlin has over 30 years at the bench and a wealth of experience creating customer's dream pieces. Her designs are guided by a unique sense of balance and proportion.

Goddess Tara articulated 'Goddess' multi chain necklace WTN51

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