How to Change the Color of Copper for Jewelry

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Copper is a metal that has a rich, warm brownish-pink color. It's considered a base metal because it changes color or oxidizes when exposed to air, compared to precious metals such as gold, platinum and sterling silver. This means a mirror-polished copper bracelet that's almost pinkish in tone will eventually tarnish or develop a patina over time. You can speed up this process and even create other colors of patina by using some simple techniques and household supplies.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass jar with lid
  • Vinegar
  • Oatmeal
  • Scrub brush
  • Dish soap
  • Liver of sulfur in lump form
  • 1 cup hot water
  • Copper
  • Bowl or cup large enough to hold your copper
  • Wooden spoon for stirring

Black-Brown Patina

  • Clean the copper using the scrub brush and soap. Dry thoroughly.

  • Place a pea-sized chunk of liver of sulfur in a bowl. Pour in hot water to dissolve the liver of sulfur. Stir with the wooden spoon.

  • Put the copper into the liver of sulfur for a few seconds to 30 minutes, depending on how dark you want the metal to get.

  • Take the copper out of the liver of sulfur. Rinse and dry.

Green-Blue Patina

  • Put about 1/2 cup oatmeal in the glass jar with the vinegar. The oatmeal is optional; its texture will leave a pattern on the metal.

  • Bury your copper in the oatmeal-vinegar solution. Put the lid on the jar. Shake the jar if desired.

  • Leave it sit for up to one week until your copper has turned the desired shade of blue or green. Do not rinse.

Tips & Warnings

  • When making jewelry, applying a patina to metal should be the last step once all soldering is complete.

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References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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