Have you ever wondered how they make the letters and details on silver black? Most jewelers use Liver of Sulfer, and it stinks really bad! Just like rotten eggs. On the days that I use it my workshop the whole room smells like something died in it!I am sure people wonder what I am doing in there when they smell it.
Here is a picture of silver after it has been tumbled for a long time in a vibratory tumbler to remove the rough edges; holes have also been drilled in each pendant (my husband's job).
The silver is then cleaned and placed in a liver of sulfer solution until it turns black:
This is what it looks like after it comes out of the Liver of Sulfer and is rinsed off and dried:
The next step is to buff all of the excess black off the silver. The black will remain in the recesses so that the letters are dark and any other details are antiqued. The silver is then polished.
If you have silver pieces that have been oxidised (antiqued) you have to be careful when you clean them. If they are put into a really harsh cleaning fluid it can remove all or some of the black. The best way to clean oxidised silver is to gently clean it in warm soapy water while rubbing it with your fingers to remove any dirt and grime. Rinse well, and then finish with a jewelry cleaning and polishing cloth.