A question we get a lot is what is the black metal? So we thought we might lift the curtain on our edgy black metal collections. On our website you will come across a variety of descriptions including oxidised silver or black rhodonised silver. So what does it all mean?

As you may be well aware Silver naturally has a tendency to turn black (tarnish) over time. This is due to the sulphur content naturally occurring in the air around us. In antique silver we would call that a natural patina and removing it from antique objects can be seen to devalue the item.

In oxidised silver jewellery, designers have used this characteristic to their advantage - they apply a liver of sulphur solution to the metal to push the natural tarnishing or oxidising process and turn the metal an even charcoal grey-black.

The treatment is not reversible, but does have a tendency to wear away where it comes in contact with other objects during your normal daily activities. The finish will settle in a lovely antique patina, but if you prefer we can reapply the finish to bring it back to its black state at any time - just drop your piece into us for service.

Rhodonised silver jewellery requires a different process altogether. It is actually a plating of a metal called black rhodium, a member of the platinum family. The black rhodium is dissolved into a solution and fused to the silver jewellery under an electric current. It results in a deep black surface colour.

Rhodonising is a more permanent treatment than oxidized silver. Just as with oxidized silver the high edges will wear away over time. However, the plating can be reapplied with the right equipment - simply drop your rhodonized jewellery into us and we will get the artist to refinish your piece.

If you like your jewellery black here are a few alternatives you may want to consider:

Natural rubber

Anodized aluminium

Black Onyx, Black Diamonds and Black Spinel

Black Enamel

October 22, 2021 — Nicole van der Wolf