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Trying to achieve a "Black Pearl" patina

Susan Owen

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Good evening to all,

I am a brand new member here and am really excited to find such a great group of collective wisdom in metal! I bet I could spend hours reading all the posts...

I make smaller scale ironwork; mostly jewelry pieces. I usually just use the ol' used motor oil patina for my bracelets...sometimes I'll use gunblue. I love the way the highlights shine up from wearing them.

But I have a new dilemma: I am trying to come up with a patina that will look like a Black Pearl~ almost iridescent, with a deep look to the color. It also will be next to the skin and cannot rub off (as with my bracelets) as I need it to stay looking like pearls...Black Pearls are not true black but sort-of dark steel gray with a play of blues and greens in them. So hard to describe.

I was reading some posts about Guilder's Paste; would that work for this project? Any help here is greatly appreciated!

Thanks so much, Susan

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Hey Susan,
Since I just finished up a project using Gilder's Paste....
I used it on some handrail and some cabinet knobs. Once it has "cured" it seems to be a pretty durable finish. I.E. it took A LOT of elbow grease to buff out the finish using a clean shop towel. How well it would hold up under continuous wear, I can't say. I still sprayed the knobs and railing with an acrylic clear just to be on the safe side. The different colors CAN be mixed, although I am not sure if they make the right combination of colors to get the effect you are looking for.

Another option might be to bring a high polish on the jewelry and then bake them in the oven to draw a blue temper color. Not sure if it would be exactly what you're looking for, but definitely something different. This is a different color of bluing from what you get from, say, Birchwood Casey (sp?) or the likes. Just something to think about.

-Aaron @ the SCF

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Hello and welcome to the forum....I have been using gilders paste and find it to be really cool to use ....I have this blue color that if you mix it with a little boiled linsed oil and Japan drier and lightly dab it on it leave a real lightly irredescent patina....very cool...
I have also heard of people taking some graphite and mixing it with some minwax dark furniture polish or butchers wax get some black heat goin and dab it on you can get a little more shiney specs that goives the irredescent effect....after all of these apps....use some clear laquer to stay the color spray it on lightly...it adds to the irredescence....
hope this helps!!

The Flat Frog Farm Forge

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If you polish the part very well and degrease it, next wrap it in newspaper dont touch it without gloved hands and visit your local gunsmith to have him hot blue it. Probably not cost much at all, just find out what days he hot blues and visit him and learn the process, I do it in my backyard but its not something if you consider to do yourself that you do inside.
PS THe trick to the pearl look you want is polishing or bead blasting with very fine glass beads, the way the part is prepared determines how the black blueing appears. IE GLossy polished part= glossy black coating, Bead blasted with fine glass beads (ALmost polished)= almost polished black coating.
Sand blasted finish (Matte look)= matte black. Many times I also use scotchbrite sanding disks for a brushed look to my blueing.

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