Mercury (II) nitrate is an oxidizing agent. It is useful in the production of mercury fulminate, a nitrification agent. The name may sound cheesy but it is one of the more interesting compounds in the chemistry closet. Among other uses, it can be used as a drug carrier.
The most effective way to produce this compound is by the use of concentrated nitric acid. The chemical reaction that forms the nitrate has a formula of Hg(NO3)2.xH2O. This makes it very soluble in water. But, if the solution is too diluted, the nitrate will not form. In this case, the solution may be converted to an insoluble form by gentle heating.
The best way to test this is to mix a small volume of this solution in a bottle with a little water. If the mercury nitrate has survived this process, you are on your way to having an exemplary nitric acid cocktail. To make it easy on yourself, invest in a plastic bottler. That way, you can store this substance safely without having to worry about the mess it can leave behind.
The mercury (II) nitrate is actually a complex chemical compound. When heated, it decomposes into a number of simpler components. These include a crystalline substance known as monohydrate. As it is a relatively stable compound, it can be kept in a container for a very long time. Hence, it is often used as an analytical reagent in the laboratory.