# Can one turn a nickel blue?

I've heard of artificial coin toning, but haven't been able to find a recipe for creating a blue (or blue-ish) nickel coin.

While not a metallurgist, I work with one. She tried nitric acid, which looked more like a coating and it rinsed off -- hoping for a permanent color change.

I've read that nickel is not a reactive metal, so not sure if this is possible.

• Paint it blue ;) On a more serious note: Why do you want a blue nickel coin? Does the surface necessarily have to be nickel, or can you treat it with something else? – paracetamol Jun 29 '17 at 17:08
• @paracentamal - I'm in a band called "Blue Nickel". Was thinking of creating some jewelry or similar. So no, it doesn't have to be a nickel surface, but it should look like a nickel. – Mike Hildner Jun 29 '17 at 17:15
• watch out - Gov't rules against defacing / altering / deforming currency. Not sure it's worth their effort to go after you over $0.05, but just saying... – BlueAshFlyer Jun 29 '17 at 17:26 • "Look like a Nickel"Ah... all this time I thought you were talking about the element :D. – paracetamol Jun 29 '17 at 17:31 • Copper sulfate hardly can be made stable. My bet is on heat tinting. – Ivan Neretin Jun 29 '17 at 19:05 ## 4 Answers Austria Mint (Münze Österreich AG) since early 2000s issues bimetallic coins of various colors. Coloring is achieved by anodizing various metals and alloys. Basically, anodizing is metal surface oxidizing via a controllable electrochemical deposition of oxide layer of negligible thickness (about$\pu{1e-6 mm}$), which is physically very strong and can have many shades. For example, anodized niobium among other colors (depending on current applied) can have an intense sky blue color. A 2003 commemorative "700 Jahre Stadt Hall In Tirol", as well as latter 2010 "Erneuerbare Energie" coins have an anodized niobium core in a silver ring: The problem with US nickel coin assuming it's made of 25% nickel and 75% copper is that copper forms two stable oxides instead of one, which happens, for example, in case of well-suited metals for anodizing, such as$\ce{Al}$,$\ce{Ti}$,$\ce{Nb}$,$\ce{Ta}\$ and certain steels. This adversely affects the adhesion and significantly increases the risk of cracking the oxide film.

Attributing blue tint to copper and its alloys is possible via patination, which, I believe, happened in a case of Nelle Findlay (great observation, by the way!). The downside is that the coin will look like it has seen better days and also this tinting can be easily worn off (layer made of copper and nickel carbonates and oxides is rather loose), which will make the coin look less attractive (or more, from the collectors' point of view).

From what I see, this leaves us with these options:

1. Use pigment coloring as suggested numerous times in comments;
2. Apply patina and subsequently protect the surface with varnish;
3. Create a coin replica (a distinctive one from the original to avoid problems with law) from aluminium and anodize it with virtually any color possible.

Of course, anodized niobium will also do, but I'd rather leave it to an album that goes platinum, or as an attractive factor for a pre-order campaign:)

I did it accidentally, I had coins in the bottom of my school bag and a packet or paracetamol and ibuprofen leaked without me knowing, the tablets got crushed into a powder and were left in the bottom of my school bag with the coins for about 6 months. They're now green, and it doesn't wash off with water and it doesn't look like a coating.

As noted : An old nickle or new one ? Old nickles are nickle , new ones are cupronickel ( I think more like 30 % Ni , bal Cu).Quarters are clad with monel ( 70% Ni, 30 Cu). Cu has several blue compounds but they would not adhere well so would wear off . I vote for paint.

• Or a blue sharpie marker – MaxW Aug 31 '17 at 17:06

Maybe try cleaning it and pass a water break test, then try following up with a nickel strike solution while still wet ( not too much as it will dull )to help with adhesion. Then carry on with your over plate( just enough to prepare it for coloring.) Then color (but not too much as it strip away the preparation) Finally rinse with deionized water and dry with dry compressed air or better yet dry with nitrogen. Regards