enter image description here

I've been researching different ways to blacken brass and steel such as with blackening agent, electroplating, etc. I don't know which one I should try to achieve a finish like ones given in the picture, I also want it to get a matte appearance without having to add matte varnish.

  • To get the matte finish you may need to pretreat. Bead-blasting might be useful, for example, or caustic etching on some materials
    – Chris H
    May 21 '18 at 15:31
  • No accurate answer can be provided without knowing the alloy used. The "blackening" method depends entirely on the metal. You can not blacken one metal the way you would another and some can not be blackened at all. First, figure out what material you are using.
    – herb guy
    May 23 '18 at 5:13
  • In this case the asker has mentioned brass and steel, so it's a fair guess to assume that the exact material they want to use is somewhat flexible and depends at least in part on the practicality of their blackening it.
    – walrus
    May 23 '18 at 14:21

A reverse image search suggests that the item of jewellery in that picture is plated in black gold; an alloy made of cobalt and gold. This might be ...difficult to do at home. Let's look at some alternatives.


This is probably not what you're looking for, but good quality matt black spray paint, sprayed over a decent metal primer coat, will be reasonably durable and very simple at achieve

Oxidating (Bluing)

You can either apply a coating of an oxidating substance, or oxidate the metal itself - a process known as bluing. This will give a relatively matt finish, but probably not as matt as you're looking for.


If you go for aluminium instead of steel/brass, then you can try anodising it. Anodising at home is tricky, and the cost of tools is probably more than it's worth if you only want to blacken one or two items, but it is possible.

It seems to be possible to get a matt finish when anodising at home

Powder Coating

Powder coating is very durable, and can be done in many colours, and is doable at home. Like anodising, it requires some relatively specialised (and expensive) gear.


This is the boring option, but if you need something doing well and don't know how to do it, or don't have the necessary equipment, it's often possible to pay someone else to do it for you.

  • Anodising implies aluminium though (and that would be very even for matte anodising, which isn't easy)
    – Chris H
    May 21 '18 at 15:25
  • Interesting; a reverse image search suggests that the picture in question is actually black gold; I'll revise my answer.
    – walrus
    May 21 '18 at 15:39
  • I was wondering about sulphur-treated silver plate, but gave up
    – Chris H
    May 21 '18 at 15:45
  • Niello? I would assume that it wouldn't be durable enough. I'm rewriting my answer with a few suggestions.
    – walrus
    May 21 '18 at 15:47
  • I'm no expert, thinking craft rather than jewellery, but more along the lines of treating with liver of sulphur
    – Chris H
    May 21 '18 at 15:49

Here are some examples :

High quality: PVD titanium Nitride or, more shiny, diamond-Like carbon or black rhodium deposit. These are shiny on shiny metals but not on matte (I.E. sandblasted) metal.

Low quality: black oxide, black galvanic chromium or black galvanic nickel (but don't use nickel for skin contact)...

Aluminium only: black anodizing.

This cannot be done at home, well... galvanic treatments and anodizing could but they have some security concerns.

If at home you can use a high quality shiny paint or black glazing for ceramics.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.