Fake patina on silver

I have purchased several pieces of Native American jewelry online that looked like they had a nice older patina but then when I received them it was apparent that there was some substance on them to make them look older. This would be on the entire necklace including the beads. This is something that is hard to tell from a picture. Sometimes it comes off with some gentle cleaning with a damp cloth and Q-tip and I have been able to return some. What I am wondering is what do these folks use to make this fake patina with. The second part of the question is that I was told by one seller that the artist used some technique to create contrast in the silver. Is this true? Thanks so much in advance.


It is a very popular way to give Navajo jewelry an immediate rustic and authentic look. This technique has been used for a very long time and has been referred to in John Adair’s book, Navajo & Pueblo Silversmiths. The piece is first oxidized and then rinsed, after that the jeweler will either use a buffing wheel or steel wool to finish.