What is Oxidized Silver?

Joyti Kumar

Posted on May 31 2021

What is Oxidized Silver?

The trend of wearing oxidized silver jewellery has been around for a very long time. From intricate Jewellery pieces to decorations, oxidized silver has its mystique. Giving a touch of black to silver adds beauty to the jewellery piece and catches one’s eyes. Not to forget, adding quartz crystals or gemstones to the equation complements the blackened silver even more!

About Silver Oxidized Jewellery

Oxidized silver is the process of coating silver jewellery with a chemical compound called potassium sulfide. When the silver surface is introduced to sulfides, the patina is formed which is a surface color that appears on the metal. You’ll notice that the color of the surface is blackish. There is a common misconception that the process involves the use of oxygen hence the name oxidized. It’s technically incorrect.

Using sulfides, you can achieve a wide range of colors in rainbow spectrum like yellow, red, blue, and purple. At maximum strength, the color is matte black. Oxidized silver is used to make different types of jewellery pieces like bracelets, necklaces, rings, jhumka earrings and other accessories.

Does Oxidized Silver Jewellery contain 100% silver?

No, Oxidized silver jewellery pieces aren’t purely silver. A pure silver surface having low impurities is difficult to oxidize. Sterling Silver is used for oxidation. However, high levels of purity make it difficult to oxidize sterling silver.  Silver-plated jewellery can be oxidized if it doesn’t contain rhodium but it isn’t the best choice.

Does Oxidized Silver Wear with time?

Yes, the oxidized silver surface will wear over time depending upon the usage and maintenance. The process is a surface treatment that gives a dark appearance on silver. As time passes, it will polish off and you’ll see the original color of the silver.

Bracelets and rings having an oxidized finish are prone to wearing off since they frequently come into contact with surfaces whereas oxidized silver surfaces last long on necklaces and tops.

To increase the life span of oxidized silver jewellery, remember to remove any jewellery that you’re wearing before washing your hands or taking a shower.

How to Clean Silver Oxidized Jewellery 

You can’t clean your silver oxidized jewellery with alcohol or cleaning dips as this would strip off the black surface easily. Using silver polish would also ruin the look of the jewellery.

 One of the safest methods is to dip the oxidized jewellery into a solution of washing detergent and water and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Gently, rub it with a brush.  Now, remove it gently from the solution and let it air-dry. You can also go to a local jeweller and request an oxidized finish. Your oxidized silver jewellery doesn’t require frequent cleaning. However, you need to make sure that you keep it away from direct sunlight.

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