The Oxidation of Turquoise Glass

Posted on March 9, 2011

Turquoise, oh turquoise.  The most sublime of colors.  You go with almost everything.  You react wonderfully with ivory and yellow and orange.  So why do you turn that hateful oil slick grey every time I try and use you?  Why do you pit and oxidize and make me wish I’d never picked you up?

 

Well, because I have this compulsion to use turquoise in almost all of my beads, I have found a couple of ways around this problem.  First, make your beads just the way you would normally, and don’t worry about that oxidation.  Even a small amount of pitting it OK, as long as it is not too deep.

 

These are a collection of beads I made last weekend:

 

 

Close up:

 


Yuck!  They didn’t look too bad going into the kiln, but my kiln has a reducing atmosphere, which is great for the metallic glasses, but only adds to the problems with dark turquoise.  So when I pulled them out they were a dark grayish blue with lots of metallics.  Heavy duty oxidation and a little bit of pitting on the disc with the spots.

 

Once out of the kiln, I clean the beads as usual, and then I have 2 choices.  One, I can soak them in coke overnight (maybe even for 36 hours for stubborn oxidation), or two, I can soak them in a watered down version of etching solution.  Usually, I dip and scrub- dip them in the solution for about 10-30 seconds, and then rinse them with copious amounts of water, wash with soap, and if necessary, use an old toothbrush to get into those grooves (like on the flower lentil above).  I use Dip & Etch, a really old batch that is brown and sludge-like, but still works wonderfully.  I have also tried this method with Etch-All, and assume any of the etching solutions would work.  I just dilute it with water until it is “watery”- you don't want it thick, stir it until there are no globs of solution.  (I stir it every time I use it, and water it down whenever it starts getting thick.)  It sits by my slop sink in a plastic cup with a plastic spoon- drop the beads in, swish the solution around for a few seconds, and then fish them out with the spoon.  Rinse, wash and scrub and they are ready.

 

So here they are after I dipped them in the solution:

 

 

 

Here is a side by side comparison (although I didn’t get the bead positioned exactly right):

 

 

A couple of caveats: the coke has never taken the finish off of the glass, but the etching mixture can with repeated soakings. However, the coke can take some time, while the etching solution is just a matter of a minute and you’re done.  I have also heard of using toilet bowl cleaner, but have not tried that method myself.  Maybe this will make you pick up those turquoise rods more!  Happy torching:)  Laura

 

 

 

 



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1 Comment

torchfairy   March 15, 2011 at 6:52 pm

 
  Hi Laura: I have not had any problem with the turquoise oxidizing and I use a lot of it.... that is amazing.... maybe it is the air in Canada...just joking!!!! Also I batch anneal.... would that make a difference??? P.S. I watered down the bead release & that seems to work...haven't had a chance to order the other release yet...  
 


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