Native American Jewelry – Antiquing

Hello,

While shopping your Bargain Barn, I have a question.

The descriptions of the following 2 bracelets say:

“This bracelet came in an estate group along with other pieces that were verifiable Native American made pieces. But this one has an artificial patina on the sterling silver from an acid wash.”

 

Sterling Silver and Turquoise Bargain Barn Bracelet

Sterling Silver and Turquoise Bargain Barn Bracelet

 

 

Vintage Sterling Silver and Turquoise Bargain Barn Bracelet

Vintage Sterling Silver and Turquoise Bargain Barn Bracelet

 

My question is – How could you tell that it had an artificial patina?  I didn’t know acid was used to produce patina (although I guess that’s what it does in the test for silver).  I thought chemicals like liver of sulfur were used to patinate silver – like to darken the lower level in shadowbox and overlay jewelry.

Regards, Joan

Hi Joan,

That was a typo – it was meant to say “alkaline wash” or “has been antiqued” and I have made that correction on the description of those two bracelets – thank you very much for calling that to my attention.

Yes liver of sulfur is often used by Native American artists for shadowbox, storyteller, and overlay techniques to create a darkened background for contrast with the bright shiny sterling silver elements of a piece.
Antiquing is also used on sterling silver Navajo beads, such as these by Virginia Tso.
Antiqued Sterling Silver Navajo Beads by Virginia Tso

Antiqued Sterling Silver Navajo Beads by Virginia Tso

We know it is an artificial patina on those bracelets from the experience of seeing the patina on very old pieces (which is somewhat spotty) vs. patina which appears to have been applied (and seems more uniform like a wash).

You can read more about Patina and Tarnish in this article.

The bracelets are sterling silver and have very nice stones. When we can’t authenticate the maker of a bracelet as Native American, we put the items in our Bargain Barn at half the price.
Thanks again for the good eyes and come back and visit !

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