Luster Gel – a new way to color silver!

May 10, 2011

Create a full rainbow of colored patinas on silver with new Luster Gel.

Iridescent Luster Gel for Silver is a brand-new product that makes it easy to change the color of silver jewelry. Unlike patina solutions that mostly* darken or oxidize the metal, Luster Gel creates a whole rainbow of different colors. The best part is, the colors appear in a reliable order! (*I say mostly because it is possible to get cool rainbows when using liver of sulfur… however, the process is less predictable and may require additional chemicals or heat.)

buddha beads

Sterling silver Buddha / bodhisattva beads before and after being treated with Luster Gel. The blue color takes 20-30 minutes to achieve.

Sterling silver, fine silver and silver-plated jewelry pieces can all be colorized with Luster Gel. Since patinas are created via chemical reactions, anti-tarnish treatments and coatings could interfere with the gel’s performance. Also, follow the basic chemical safety rules when working with this product: avoid skin contact, wear eye protection and work in a well-ventilated area. Don’t eat it either!

luster gel for silver

Iridescent Luster Gel for Silver

Luster Gel is sold in a 4 oz. jar and needs to be mixed with water and the included activator powder prior to use.

luster gel

Luster Gel gets its green color from cupric (copper) acetate.

For each batch of Luster Solution, mix, in order:

  1. 100 ml (about 3.5 oz.) filtered water (use warm – not hot – water for a more rapid color change)
  2. 30 ml (1 oz. / 2 tablespoons) Luster Gel (stir before use)
  3. 1/2 teaspoon Luster Activator (powder)
luster gel solution

Once mixed with the activator, the Luster Solution turns dark orange.

Dip your piece into the solution (use a string or a plastic hook, or wear gloves, to avoid touching the solution). Over the next 30 minutes, the silver will change from yellow to gold, then orange – red – brown – purple – and finally blue. If you leave it in longer, it will go through the same color-change process again, only this time the colors will be deeper and more iridescent.

luster gel silver rainbow

All of the colors pictured here occur within 30 minutes, starting with gold (top left) after about 5 minutes in the solution and ending with deep blue after a full 30 minutes. On the far right are plain sterling pieces to show the transformation.

Once you are happy with the color, pull your piece out of the solution, rinse with clean water and allow it to air dry. Once it is completely dry, seal it with Renaissance Wax or a clear spray sealer to protect the finish. That’s it. Super easy!

When you are done, mix baking soda into the Luster Solution to neutralize it. At that point you may safely dispose of it by washing it down the drain. Happy rainbows to you! ~ Cindy

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  • Connie Eyberg May 10, 2011 at 7:16 am

    This looks like a great product! Nice demonstration of the resulting color. Connie

  • Barbe Saint John May 10, 2011 at 7:38 am

    that is SOO cool!!! Doing that with liver of sulfer is tricky, and this looks so easy. Does this work on copper or brass by chance?? I’m putting this on my wish/shopping list.

  • Carol Langston May 10, 2011 at 7:39 am

    That looks fun!!!! Might just have to give it a try. Need to place an order anyway!!

  • Julie Rorden May 10, 2011 at 8:14 am

    This looks so much easier than patinating a piece the traditional, stinky, drippy way. With some patina solutions, sealing with wax or spray alters your final color. What has your experience been with this gel product?

    • Cindy May 13, 2011 at 1:04 pm

      So far, so good – although only time will tell, and this product is so new that our samples are just a few weeks old. I have high hopes!

  • Dave Robertson May 10, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Carrie Appel asked on Facebook, “Does this product work on other metals?”

    • Noryan May 10, 2011 at 2:23 pm

      This product is strictly formulated for Sterling Silver and Silver plated goods. Although I don’t believe it has been tested on other metals, I don’t think you will have any results like what you see on silver items. Also some Silver Plate items have a protective lacquer coating, I think this can also skew results as the luster gel is reacting to the silver directly.
      Hope this helps, this product is truly unique!

  • Laurie Tholen May 10, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Does this product work on copper?

    • Cindy May 13, 2011 at 8:02 am

      Sorry Laurie, Luster Gel only works on silver.

  • Joy Joyner aka GoddessJoy May 13, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Will you guys be bringing any of this deliciousness to the CA road shows?? (please say yes!)

    • Cindy May 13, 2011 at 1:02 pm

      Hi Joy! Due to the hassles of shipping/transportation regulations, we won’t be bringing the Luster Gel to the road shows. However, if you come to one of our shows, you can then use your free shipping coupon to order the gel! 🙂

  • Jenny May 15, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Now poduct does not seem intimidating. I’ve shyed away from others patina products but I hope to try this gel soon – seem very easy to use.

    • Cindy May 16, 2011 at 12:58 pm

      I understand the fear factor, Jenny! Fortunately all of the patina products we sell are safe and easy to use.

  • Alex Parkinson June 13, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Hi there,
    I am very interested in this lustre gel. Is there anyway that I could get it in South Africa? or find someone who could ship this to Cape Town. I am a jeweler and this type of product would be very useful for my silver.
    I look forward to hearing your feedback,
    Many thanks,
    Alex Parkinson

  • Vijay November 24, 2012 at 2:58 am

    Hi.. Im vijay from India… This is very useful for as… But i not able to buy… Or how can i buy this luster gel…. Im a silver jeweler this would be helpful for our business… So please respond quickly as possible…. To my id…

  • Monica July 8, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Hello, for that my mixture has not turned orange?. It is of dark green color.

    • Polly July 8, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      Hi Monica,
      Did you follow these instructions?
      For each batch of Luster Solution, mix, in order:
      1. 100 ml (about 3.5 oz.) filtered water (use warm – not hot – water for a more rapid color change)
      2. 30 ml (1 oz. / 2 tablespoons) Luster Gel (stir before use)
      3. 1/2 teaspoon Luster Activator
      It is green at first, then it turns orange after you mix it with the activator.

      • Mónica Cabréllez July 9, 2014 at 12:13 am

        Hello, can it be that it was putting little activator?? To how many grams there corresponds the measure of half a spoon of tea??, because the result was not the wished one, they remained my pieces of silver negresses, without these so nice tones of color. Thank you very much

        • Polly July 9, 2014 at 5:29 pm

          Hi Monica,
          Grams are weight, and tea spoons are volume, so they are difficult to compare.
          One website says: 1 gram is 0.2 (0,2) teaspoons of water.
          Another website says: 1 teaspoon of sugar is approximately 4 grams.

          • Polly July 11, 2014 at 8:14 am

            Hi Monica,
            I researched a little more, and I think this might help.
            1 teaspoon = 1/6 fluid ounce, so 1/2 teaspoon is 1/12 fluid ounce.
            That does not sound like very much, so I think if you mix it and it doesn’t turn color, then add a little more, a tiny bit at a time, until it turns color.

  • brandi April 8, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    Where can you purchase this product?

    • Polly April 11, 2016 at 9:12 am

      Hi Brandi, sells the Luster Gel. (I just updated/fixed the broken links above, so they work now. Sorry about that!)

  • Tiffany Piazza June 11, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    I tried Luster Gel on fine silver pieces that I made from PMC. I did not get a good result. Should I have polished my pieces prior to dipping in the Luster Gel? Or is there a way that I should finish the piece just after the Luster Gel? I wanted the blue color and ended up with dark gray/black. It looks like it would if I’d left a piece in liver of sulfur until dark gray/black. Any suggestions?

    • Polly June 17, 2016 at 8:33 am

      Hi Tiffany, I haven’t personally used PMC or Luster Gel, so I’m not too sure what troubleshooting to suggest. I’ve put the word out to a few who have used one or the other, and I’ll let you know as soon as I find out something useful.
      In the meantime, did you try taking it out earlier to see the progression of colors? And did it simply turn gray (and progressively darker gray to black) the whole time, or did it go through the rainbow effect? I’m not sure whether something in the PMC makes it act faster/slower, or if there is something in the environment. If it asks you to mix it with water, did you use tap water or purified water? (There could be something in your local tap water that affects it. I know some areas like Nashville have a ton of chlorine in their water to combat issues caused by tropical storm / hurricane related flooding in the past 10 years.)
      Please let us know what you’ve already tried/tested/done; it will help us help you troubleshoot. ~Polly

  • Marianne Cornelius May 27, 2017 at 12:35 am

    Hi! I have two Questions. Is the batch storeable? And how can I make a smaller amount?
    Another thing is, that my Bach doesn’t turn orange. The color of it when mixedo together is a durty gray. Thanks for answering

    • Polly May 30, 2017 at 9:20 am

      Hi Marianne,
      I’m not sure if it’s storeable. But you it’s certainly worth a try. I suggest using a plastic / tupperware leftover container that you don’t plan to use for food again in the future.
      Regarding the color: if it doesn’t work right when it’s this color, you may want to use distilled or filtered water. There may be something in your local tap water that reacts oddly with the luster gel.

    • Polly May 30, 2017 at 9:31 am

      Ooops, I didn’t notice your other question.
      To make a smaller batch, just divide the recipe ingredients like you would divide the ingredients for a cooking recipe.
      If you don’t have measuring cups, etc. that measure in ml, oz, teaspoons or Tablespoons, then use internet tools to divide the quantities into units of measure that match your measuring utensils. Try something like “1/4 teaspoon = ? oz”

  • Moogie September 16, 2017 at 9:07 am

    I bought some luster gel from y’all & am using it for the first time. When I opened the gel container, it was half empty, very thick like oily peanut butter & a very dark gray. I mixed with distilled water & added the half teaspoon activator (which is a powder, not “solution”!), and mixed it up. It remained very dark gray. I’m about to take my pieces out. I’ll write again to tell you the results. But it isn’t at all how it is described. I wonder if it has gone bad? Does it expire? I just purchased it within the past month.

    • Polly September 18, 2017 at 9:59 am

      Hi Moogie,
      I copied your question to a support ticket in our ordering system, so our customer service staff will be able to help you out.
      To the best of my knowledge it doesn’t have an expiration date, but we’ll check into that, as well as the quantity that should be in the jar. I’m not sure why yours started out gray, and stayed gray … that sounds odd! I haven’t personally used it, but in the blog pictures, it’s green when you mix the water and gel together, and then turns orange when you mix the activator powder into it, so something seems not quite right. And you used distilled water, which is good — it helps eliminate any issues caused by unexpected chemicals/metals/minerals in the local tap water.

      • Julee Mason December 23, 2018 at 8:11 pm

        What Moogie described, is exactly what I received too. When I received the Luster Gel, the container was half empty, black, & thick like oil. It does absolutely NOTHING when mixed with water & the activator nor has it been orange in color at any time. And yes, I mixed it exactly as directed & used bottled water. Have you figured out why this happened and are you providing any compensation for orders ordered thru Rings & Things?