Elaine K. emailed about etching silver:
Q. I’ve been fascinated with your website and its offerings, but am not sure I am ready to equip my studio for etching sterling silver. Can I etch silver, either sterling or fine?
A. One can etch silver, but it takes a different chemical and different equipment than one would use for etching base-metals (copper, brass, nickel-silver). Most people use nitric acid to etch silver (either sterling or fine), which can be very dangerous (I burned my eyes a little the first time I used it), and it has a short shelf-life. I etch base-metals in ferric chloride (relatively benign). If I can avoid etching silver, I do. For texture, I tend to either use a rolling mill or else hand-texture the silver with a hammer or flex-shaft. If you absolutely must use nitric acid, please follow all the safety instructions.
Thanks for the great questions, Elaine.