Behind the Scenes: Experimenting with Patina Gel

cool tools patina gel liver sulfur oxidizing jewelryCool Tools Patina Gel: Liver of Sulfur for Jewelry

Sometimes I get into a groove where I resist trying new things. I feel comfortable with a certain habit that seems to be working and flying off into unknown territory that may cause me to have to do more work later is concept that often holds me back.

Last year when Cool Tools introduced their Patina Gel, I realized how much I needed to experiment more with finishing Hint Jewelry's silver charms. I purchased a four ounce bottle of Cool Tools Patina Gel and also found some liquid Silver Black Oxidizer. Over the last couple months I've compared the Patina Gel to the Griffith liquid Silver Black Oxidizer and liver of sulfur in dry chunks, and hands down I love working with the Cool Tools Patina Gel best of all.

The stabilized Cool Tools Patina Gel is easy to store, so you don't have to worry about sealing in a bunch of baggies, and a little goes a long way. I'm guessing that this small bottle might last the whole year or more! Also, Cool Tools has provided excellent online patina videos and documentation for their Patina Gel. Even if you don't purchase their product, I highly recommend watching their liver of sulfur videos for new tips and tricks.

For more information on working with metal clay and running an online jewelry business, check out my whole Behind the Scenes blog series.


  1. One of the problems I have with lump LOS is inconsitent results between metal clay pieces that are in the same 'bath' for the same time. Very frustrating. Do you get more consistent results with the cool tools gel?

  2. well thank you for this, beth... truth be told i have been rethinking my product for oxidizing... i use the chunks and am just looking for something else - so with your recommendation i will try the gel... thanks for always being so open with your information...

  3. Thanks for the recommendation! I have a gel based liver of sulfur that I picked up from Fundamentals I think. But it doesnt' seem to work on brass as well (at least not for me). When I run out of that I will put this on my list! Enjoy the day! Erin

  4. Thanks for the product review. I'm one that hesitates to try new things for several reasons (money, finding time to really give it full attention, being out of my comfort zone), but I've been wantint to try this for a while now. I think it's time...

  5. I ADORE this gel and use it all the time! Experiment a little - you can dip into a solution of it or rub it on directly..a super product, in my view! ox AJ

  6. I switched to the gel not long after it came out - it's great! I will never go back to lumps.

  7. Cool Tools is just THE BEST. Mardel really knows her products and shares with the community. This gel is wonderful compared to the 'clumps'. Glad to hear that you've had the same good results, too.

    LOS doesn't really work on brass; and, you should never patina silver and copper at the same time. Rio sells a patina that works perfect on brass. (Credit to Tracy Stanley class for this brassy info.)


  8. In regards to inconsistency with the liver of sulfur chunks or gel, I heat my water on the stove to a boil then let it cool so it is just steaming a bit, then I leave my silver in the bath until everything has an even coat of grey on it. After a lot of freaking out early on I realized that the smooth grey patina that I like actually comes after the brown and dark black. So waiting for me is the key and keeping a warm water temperature gives me consistency.

    So long chunks! Looks like people are moving to gel. So glad this post confirmed what some people already know and may have nudged some people in a new direction.

    Thanks Sandi for the information on the patina for brass and the tip on not mixing silver and copper. I haven't oxidized brass before.

    AJ, I haven't tried rubbing the gel on directly. Thanks so much for the tip!

  9. I'm really shocked anyone could recommend any kind of liver of sulfur over silver black. Simmering pots of water, smelling sulfur, soaking baths & waiting, versus dipping a qtip in silver black, applying, and your piece instantly finished within seconds? I work at a jewelry shop with a lot of designers, and silver black is a staple in everyone's studio. The only people we encounter who use liver of sulfur haven't discovered the silver black yet. I hear people exclaim that they're never going back to LOS at least 2x/month. I personally have a ton of this LOS gel collecting dust next to boxes full of mixed metals it has ruined. I would not recommend it for jewelers.

    1. This is good to know! I actually have a bottle of silver black in my stash that I use to when I have small parts I want to patina. Can you keep the silver black in a jar and reuse it over and over again or do you need to discard the portion you dip the jewelry in?


I'd love for you to share your ideas and stories on my blog! Please know that I may not always be able to e-mail you a direct response, so be sure to check back to my blog and continue the dialogue. Many blessings for connecting with me through word and image :)