@Jason and anyone else - My grail piece has come to market! It’s the same 1950s sandcast buckle as Ralph Lauren’s buckle and the buckle featured in one of my books - probably made by the same artist. However, one of the things I love about both of those buckles is the deep, dark gray patina that formed over time and compliments their age. Unfortunately, the buckle that is available has been polished. It does not have that warm “aged” look and is too “bright” for my taste.
My question is can the buckle be darkened to a deep gray patina by an experienced silversmith perhaps someone in Gallup or Santa Fe? I know I could let it tarnish naturally, but it could take years to achieve that level of patina. To me, there is a difference between aged patina and surface tarnishing that rubs off easily when touched.
I realize beggars can’t be choosers, but sadly, the buckle in its current bright polished finish is a deal breaker for me. Below is a photo of the available buckle followed by Ralph Lauren’s buckle and the one in the book. If the available buckle can be somehow darkened and toned down, I’ll buy it.
I’ve read of several ways that this can be done. There are diy and professional ways. If it’s your dream buckle please don’t let it slip away. I hope you have the same response from @Jason and others.
Some of the information I have read was written by active practicing NA artists.
Agree with everyone, grab this beauty now and you will absolutely acquire patina one way or another. Artists do darken silver, which you can see in the many strands of brand new Navajo pearls sold with a faux patina (from applied liver of sulfur?). And at least in the Midwest, it takes a hot second to re-patina bright silver simply by leaving it exposed to typically humid room temperature.
There are products out there that do add patina. The liquid liver of sulfur seems to work the best for me. You have to do this gradually with different potencies, or you will end up with what looks like an artificial patina with alot of colors in it. I have also gotten good results with just running my hands all over the item for 10 minutes and then putting it into a zip lock bag. leave it to set for a few days and then repeat. I did this 4 times and got a very nice patina. I have also tried the little smoke bombs they sell during the 4th of july. capture the smoke in a plastic container with you item and seal it. leave it for a few days. Not the greatest technique but it works.
Depending on where you are in the world, High humidity areas; you can leave it outside for a couple of weeks. Another trick is a sulfer hot springs. I don’t know how many times I have kicked myself for getting into the hot springs without checking the mineral content first!
There are alot of you tube videos with eggs and what not, but the active thing is sulfer. Thunderbird supply and Rio Grand both carry products.
Make it yours.
Let it age naturally with you.
Look beyond it’s current state and make it part of your estate.
Polish a turd and it’s still a turd at the end of the day.
Polish a gem it’s still a gem forever.
Thank you all for your comments, suggestions, and video. I sincerely appreciate it! This forum and the members are amazing.
I purchased the buckle this morning. I do live in the humid Midwest, but I’m not sure I want to attempt this work myself. Fortunately, we are heading to New Mexico for vacation next month. We will be in Gallup, Santa Fe, and Taos. My plan is to call a few galleries ahead of time to find an experienced, artistic silversmith, who does this kind of work. I’ll take along photos of RL’s buckle and the book buckle as examples.
Hopefully, all goes well and I’ll post photos upon my return. Thanks again!
I’m so excited for you that you finally found this buckle–you have been talking about it for years! I’m sure you will find a way to get a beautiful patina back on it. Keep us posted and send us pictures!
Thank you, OO! I couldn’t believe my eyes when it popped up for sale. I never imagined I would have a shot at one. It has everything I could ask for in a sandcast piece - impressive size, weight, and a design combining following arms with a solid central frame with file and stamp work. In my eyes, it really is a masterpiece in the art of sandcasting.
As for the patina, I am confident Jason will be able to help. It eased my mind after looking at Edison Sandy Smith’s other work online. Edison clearly has the talent and vision for the job.