Thursday, September 16, 2010

Oxidized or Shiny?

That is the question. Everyone has an opinion. What is your preference? Does it depend on your mood...what your wearing, or do you only wear one or the other. I've never really had very many comments about the oxidation or lack there of, of the jewelry I create. However, at the art show this past weekend, there were several comments, and even a lost sale.

When to oxidize? I almost always oxidize copper to get that nice warm tone. But what about silver? There are certain pieces that I oxidized because it adds so much depth.  The oxidation brings out the detail in the wirework and really makes the piece pop. Like this pendant...

And this necklace, the oxidation really shows the wirework well and provides a great contrast in color.

And then sometimes I oxidize...just because

But then again, I like to leave some pieces shiny. Sometimes shiny really makes a piece stand out. Bright, shiny silver provides great contrast against a darker colored bead. Such was the case when determining whether to oxidize this bracelet. I felt like oxidizing this piece would make it dull.

And then there is the case where I'm not sure which would be better. Like here...

The downfall to oxidizing is once it's's done. You can always polish the piece and get off a majority of the oxidation but it will never be bright and shiny again. And I hate the polishing part, all those little piece of steel wool get stuck in the coiling, my hands are stained black and smell like metal for at least a day. However, I've recently learned that the polishing can also be done with a scotch brite pad...I'm definitely gonna try this.

The downfall to shiny...well for me anyway, is the photographing. I can't get a decent picture of a nice, shiny piece, like the above necklace. The shiny silver acts like a mirror, depending on the angle I get a reflection of my lens. And then there are the dark spots...very frustrating.

So what is your preference? Mine...shiny. I really gravitate toward a bright, shiny piece of jewelry, but then again it depends on the piece.


  1. LOL... I vascillate back and forth, so I hear your dilemma! :) Personally... if the stones are earthy colors -or- I'm going for a vintage feel... then oxidize away. BUT when I've got some beautiful vibrant colors -OR- gorgeous lampwork beads, I think shiny gives them all the attention they deserve!

    Great post! Love your pieces in the photos! Have a fantastic day!


  2. I love both. It depends on what I am wearing. It certainly does make a hug difference when it comes to wire work. Both are beatiful!!! It's good to have both in your collection to suit all tastes! :)

  3. I love almost everything oxidized, I do not favor the shiny look. I think by oxidizing you add another dimension to the piece.
    I use to use the scotch pads but switched to the steel wool, you get a much better shine with the steel wool. My hands are a wreck too, I am going to start to tell people I am a mechanic!

  4. I prefer oxidized. I love the way it accents the details of a piece.

  5. I dip everything in liver of sulfur. I rarely make a piece and not oxidize it. If you own a tumbler, you can take an oxidized piece and tumble it and your piece will come out super shiny yet still oxidized. You wirework is excellent, show off those details!

  6. I seem to oxidize everything and then wonder why I did it later. I'll spend what seems like hours polishing jewelry afterwards until my fingers are nubs. I agree about copper, it gives it a nicer tone. I've noticed that your pieces that aren't oxidized are so bright and shiny. I love them! I don't know how you take photos of them, it seems almost impossible to me.

  7. First -- your jewelry is AWESOME.

    Secondly -- I just recently started oxidizing more, and I'll tell you soon how it's received, as I have a show next weekend. Some pieces just need it. But most of my work is shiny.

    As for the steel wool -- I hate it. I now use Pro Polishing Pads whenever I can, and always on the fine wire stuff, where the steel wool would get stuck in the wire.

  8. Oxidized. Totally.
    Every time, everything...copper, brass, silver, all of it!

  9. Hi Shelby
    I bet you can guess what I'm going to say! There was a time when I did probably 50-50...and now there isn't any decision. I oxidize everything (unless of course it's made with steel wire). Since I use wire in just about everything, I think oxidizing adds such an incredible dimension, it just makes anything go from okay to WOW! :-) I totally hear you though about the down side, dealing with steel wool and blackened hands for days! :-(

  10. I'd agree with Dawn Marie and oxidize earthy colours to get this vintage, elegant look, but I would leave the bright-coloured beads shiny to grab attention on the beads :o)