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:: Desert Varnish ::

A deep, rich, multihued patina married to reticulated silver evokes the mineral-darkened canyon walls of the Southwest in these timeless earrings. I've recently begun exploring reticulated silver in the studio, but have loved it for many years, long before I became a full-time jeweler. I suppose it's because it reminds me of the erosional patterns in dry landscapes and the richly primitive textures of the desert. The darkened stripes and areas that color sandstone walls is called "desert varnish", which is formed when minerals oxidize over thousands of years on the stone's surface.

Fresh from the torch, reticulated silver looks like tinfoil, so these pendants underwent an extended journey in the patina solution as I repeatedly immersed them and removed partial layers. Slowly a deep hue emerged that is cool in the deepest recesses and warm in the higher spots. The overall effect is like aged bronze, but with both warm and cool lights. The photos give a great example of this: facing sunlight bouncing off a stucco wall, they look warmly golden. Turned to reflect the light of blue sky, they become gunmetal blue. Only liver of sulfur, the traditional patina for jewelers, creates these marvellous colors.

The handmade earwires were also darkly oxidized, and both they and the reticulated silver pendants were treated with Renaissance Wax to preserve the patina.

There is also a good bit of dust on the earrings from the weathered juniper I used as a prop in these photos...not seen until I looked at them in enlargement! A sad testimony to aging eyesight. The earrings will be cleaner when you receive them!

Size: 68mm x 14mm.

Care: Rinse in cool water to clean and blot dry with a lint-free cloth. Never scrub these or use polish...unless you want tinfoil.

Desert Varnish will arrive beautifully giftwrapped in a hand-decorated pillow box, along with a handwritten description.

Frequently asked questions about DesertTalismans

Sorry, my work is one of a kind and I do not accept any custom orders, including requests to recreate previously sold items.
The size of each item is given at the bottom of each listing. The only variations in size are for rings that are adjustable. See the listings for details.
Care instructions are provided at the bottom of each listing.
All items are giftwrapped and carefully packaged for shipping. See my Sample Packaging listing for details.
Sorry, wholesale is not available at this time.
All items and images in the Desert Talismans shop are copyrighted and may not be reproduced in any form, or in any medium, without the written permission of Dawn Wilson-Enoch

Reticulated Oxidize Sterling Silver Earrings with Deep Patina


  • Handmade item
  • Material: sterling silver
  • Ships worldwide from United States
  • Feedback: 617 reviews
  • Favorited by: 19 people