Product Review: Liver of Sulfur Patina Gel
2 oz. (60 mL) $10.00
4 oz. (120 mL) $15.00
Traditional forms of liver of sulfur (commonly abbreviated to LOS) patina, while good for darkening metals, don't have the best track record when it comes to ease of use. Pre-mixed liquid is bulky to store and costly to ship; dry lump form is compact but degrades quickly through contact with air or moisture.
However, the perfect patination answer may have finally arrived -- liver of sulfur now comes in a new stabilized gel form. While it smells just as delightful as the standard variety (think rotten eggs), this new liver of sulfur gel is superior to other varieties in nearly every way possible.
Exhibit A: The Cool Tools company reports that patina gel, after being left uncovered for over a year, gave results identical to those created with fresh patina. With a shelf life that may even put some gourmet cheeses to shame, this stabilized gel is economical -- you'll never waste money by having to dispose of expired patina.
Exhibit B: It's highly concentrated, so a little goes a long way. You can use the gel straight or dilute it with water: 1/4 teaspoon of gel creates about 6 oz. (180 mL) of patina solution. Without a bulky container of patina to tote around, you can use that extra room in your toolbox for, well, actual tools.
Exhibit C: Unlike other versions of liver of sulfur, this new gel is nonflammable, making shipping safer and cheaper (a bonus for our international readers!).
Exhibit D: Most important, this gel makes an effective patina. After mixing a tiny amount of the concentrated gel with warm water, I had a quick-working patina that rendered an evenly dark finish on sterling silver. Plus, the solution can be modified and enhanced just like traditional liver of sulfur; add a bit of ammonia to a weak solution of patina, and you can create striking iridescent colors instead of the standard end result of dark gray/black.
Since this patina is quite powerful, you'll want to make sure that you neutralize your jewelry after darkening it. The accompanying instructions suggest soaking your patinated metal in a mixture of a baking soda and water to halt the chemical reaction; I found that this technique worked well to control the color of my metal. Liver of sulfur patina gel is available from Cool Tools, www.cooltools.us. -- Addie Kidd
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