Pray The Rosary Here
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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How to Antique (oxydize) metals -- a Primer

It's been awhile since I first published my how to guide for antiquing metals, so for those of you who missed it, here it is again....

If you've seen my work, you know I usually offer Crucifixes, centers, and medals in bronze or sterling that are newly made but 'antiqued' to the patina of an old and well-loved piece. This process is also called 'oxidizing' the metals. Often I buy pieces that are prepared for me, but sometimes I have to do it myself. So for those of you who want to 'antique' a piece, here is a primer from my experience.

There are three basic ways of oxidizing brass/bronze and sterling:

1. Muriatic acid method 2. Liver of Sulphur method. 3. All Natural Boiled Egg method

I've done all three. As you can guess, the boiled eggs are natural and organic, while the other two methods each have some degree of risk.

Probably the most potentially dangerous is the muriatic acid, sold under various names (I bought 'Silver Black'). This is intense stuff, with an odor to knock out a horse and an ability to burn to the bone--so BE CAREFUL! It usually comes in a tiny bottle. Use it in a well ventilated area, preferably outside--the fumes are dangerous, and strong: the fumes alone can unintentionally oxidize other silver and metals you have around the house! I dilute it down about 3:1 or 4:1 in cool water--ALWAYS ADD THE ACID TO THE WATER, not the other way around, to avoid spattering and sputtering and potential burns!! And use a glass container—No plastic, wood, or metal, please! Add your metal pieces and allow them to soak until they achieve the darkness you wish. This takes only seconds to about a minute. Make them darker than you need and polish them up when they have been thoroughly rinsed and dried.

I don't use this stuff anymore. Why? Being an idiot, I left the bottle on my lovely stone countertop one night. Yes, the countertop I had saved for ages to get. The lovely white countertop. The countertop that Maxx vonMeow visited in the wee hours, tipping over the bottle, which then leaked and oxidized parts of that stone countertop to a freckled speckled black and white mess. O yeah, I don't use that anymore. Maxx, by the way, was fine. So store it carefully and use it outside, please!

The next method involves no harsh chemicals, so environmentalists listen up!

First, hard-boil 6 eggs. When they are done, do not cool them--instead, quickly remove their shells (careful!) and pop them into a gallon zip lock baggie. Keeping them on one side of the bag, mash them up well, then add the metal pieces to the other side of the bag and close it. Wait. Periodically mash on the eggs. Egg yolks make sulphur, and sulphur oxidizes metal.

Did you do all this? Good. Now remove the pieces from the bag and feed the eggs to the cats. Then go out and buy some Liver of Sulphur--because THIS DOESN'T WORK WORTH A DARN!!!!!!!! Pieces often come out blotchy, and it is a slow process indeed.

Liver of Sulphur is my favorite, as it is fast and will not repeat the infamous countertop episode. It comes in solid form, broken into little mustardy-brown nuggets with a strong smell of sulphur. To use it, boil water—I use about ½-1 cup for oxidizing multiple pieces—while soaking the pieces to be oxidized in hot water to warm them up. When the water boils, place it in a glass bowl or measuring cup and add the Liver of Sulphur—use a piece about the size of a pea for 1 cup of water. Stir to dissolve, but use a wooden or stainless utensil. Add your pieces and remove when oxidized, usually less than a minute later. Again, rinse thoroughly and pat dry.

Make sure to rinse very well…or you may come back the next day to a piece which seemed to reoxidize itself overnight!

Polish your dried objects to your preferred level of oxidization. I like to use a little silver or brass polish and my Dremel drill with a brush attachment, but a rock tumbler makes quick work out of polishing and leaves a lovely shine. Dremels are not that expensive –mine was less than $50, and you can get a rock tumbler for a reasonable price as well; but you can always use a little elbow grease, a toothbrush and some silver polish too!

Silver Black (muriatic acid) is less than $8 for a small bottle; liver of sulphur was about the same for a 1/4lb container and lasts many times longer. Eggs are $1 a dozen on sale—

You decide, but try one of these methods for that ‘old’ look in your metals—and have fun!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Seraphinite -- the straight scoop on a lovely stone!

I think there's been a big find of Seraphinite recently, as indicated by some fine quality turning up at reasonable cost!  You have to see this gorgeous green stone in person to truly appreciate it, but here is a picture of a Rosary I'm working on (look for it later this week in the shop) to give you an idea:
About the Stone...
Seraphinite is named after the first order of Angels, the Seraphs. Technical name is Clinochlore. It is a silicate shot through with mica, and the light refracts differently as the stone is moved, giving it a lovely, mysterious glow (this is called 'chatoyancy').  It was first found in the Russian Ural Mountains in 1851, so it is rather new. Later it was found in other areas as well, including the southern US.
Because it is a silicate (think of sand), this is not a hard stone: On the Mohs scale it rates 2.5 on a scale of 10. Don't hit it with a hammer! But it will hold up well for a lifetime of prayer!
I am pairing this stone with other chatoyant stones--Bronzite rectangles  and, for connectors, Rainbow Moonstone with a fine, blue 'flash'.

Look for more of my work with this fabulous stone--I'm stocking up while it's still available in this quality!

All for now--don't forget to check out the shop...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Two Angels Rosary is back --and more

I have offered the Two Angels Bronze Rosary several times with great success. This particular Rosary is done in deep Red Mahogany Picture Jasper with hexagonal White Turquoise Paters and Rainbow Moonstone accents. 
Our Lord is surrounded by two Holy Angels on the Cross, and The Blessed Virgin is featured in the Centerpeice as well on the Gothic inspired medal which dangles from the center.

But I've been exploring other fun wire wrapping ideas as well...
Amethyst and Swarovski Crystal Wire Wrapped Quartz Geode Slice....
with LOTS of teeny seed beads strung on extra strength cording which took WAY too long to do

Both are in my Etsy Store ( and will soon be listed on Ebay as well at

The kitties have discovered chicken jerky made especially for cats--little flakes of chicken, moist and nummy. I'm getting a lot of attention lately--I think that's why. That, or the fact that the weather is in the 60s and I can open the windows again for ...kitty tv.  Not much of a plot, but always different...

Do check out the stores-there are some new items, and more to come. I'm trying to get inventory back up again--a lot went out last month--so keep checking back!

All for now,  j

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Pardon Crucifix - History and Indulgences

I've just listed a Rosary featuring the highly indulgenced Pardon Crucifix, and some of you may be interested in it's history.
It's creator is not known, but it first came to attention at a Marion Congress in Rome under Pope St. Pius X. The Pope learned of the Pardon Crucifix through two French Priests, twins, who had converted from Judaism and founded a Carmelite Monastery at Haifa. Apparently, it was through a conversations with one of the brothers that the Pardon Crucifix was brought to the Pope's attention and permission was granted to produce it. The first approved Pardon Crucifix was given to the Cardinal presiding over the Congress in 1904.
Shortly thereafter, a number of indulgences related to the Crucifix were granted.  Here is a list of current indulgences:
Granted by His Holiness, Pope Pius X, to the Pius Union of the Pardon Crucifix, the aim of which is to obtain pardon of God and to pardon one's neighbor.
1. Whoever carries on his person the Pardon Crucifix may thereby gain an INDULGENCE once a day.

2. For devoutly kissing the Crucifix, an indulgence.
3. Whoever says one of the following invocations before this Crucifix may gain each time an indulgence: "Our father who art in heaven, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us". "I beg the
Blessed Virgin Mary to pray to the Lord our God for me."

4. Whoever, habitually devout to this Crucifix, will fulfill the necessary conditions of Confession and Holy Communion, may gain a PLENARY INDULGENCE on the following feasts: the Five Wounds of Our Lord, the Invention of the Holy Cross, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the Immaculate Conception and the Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin.

5. Whoever at the moment of death, fortified with the Sacraments of the Church, or contrite of heart, in the supposition of being unable to receive them, will kiss this Crucifix and ask pardon of God for his sins, and pardon his neighbor, will gain a PLENARY INDULGENCE.

Originally, times (days and years, etc) of remission were assigned to the indulgences; that was changed by Pope Paul VI at the time of the Second Vatican Council to reflect that Indulgences are the remission before God of the temporal punishment dues to sins forgiven as far as their guilt is concerned. Prior to the Second Vatican Council, such as the time of Pope Pius X, the norm for determining was seen in the numbers, so many years or many days, attached to every official listing of partial indulgences.

This was changed by Pope Paul Vl. Now, the indulgence depends on the supernatural charity with which the indulgence task is done, and the perfection of the task itself. The Church no longer attaches “days” to indulgences, and the list above is updated to reflect that.

This Rosary uses Rose Quartz in several tones for the Aves and Paters. I think it has a soft, peaceful appeal, and I hope you like it. Other new things coming up--don't forget to check out the shop!

All for now, J