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Picture of How to Get Started With Precious Metal Clay Jewelry

In this project I am documenting my first experiments with precious metal clay jewelry and am going to share some of the tips and tricks and tricks I have learnt along the way as well as some of the things I've realized do not work well, which I learnt the hard way!

This project was a challenge I set for myself to learn some new skills and hopefully I can help you learn some as well.

What is PMC?

Precious Metal Clay is a material made up of water, an organic binding agent to hold it together and very small particles of a precious metal such as Gold, Bronze, Copper or as I have used in this project, Silver. It is a very versatile material that can be worked and sculpted just like regular or polymer clay. However, due to the composition of PMC it is prone to drying out easily, so you need to be careful to keep it hydrated or in an airtight container.

In this project I am making a ring with PMC but the techniques can be used to make any sort of jewelry.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

This project can be done easily with just precious metal clay and a method to fire it. For silver clay, and copper clay, it can be quite easily fired using a hand torch. However, bronze or gold clay may require the use of a kiln. Check the specifications for the specific clay you are using for best results.

There are a variety of great websites that have a large selection of tools and materials for working with metal clay, in the UK the retailer I have used is Metal Clay Ltd. - http://www.metalclay.co.uk/ I have had great experience with them so far. Another retailer I have seen good reviews for online is Cooksongold https://www.cooksongold.com/ but there are lots out there so if you have a look and find one near you!

In this project the materials and tools I have used are as follows:

Material:

Art Clay Silver 20g low fire clay

Tools:

Silicone work mat

Glass surface

Acrylic roller and spacers

Badger balm

Leather punch cutters

Straight blade

A spray bottle full of water

Pencil and eraser

Selection of burnishers

Wooden ring mandrel and ring size chart

Sanding sponges

Needle files

Handheld gas torch

dauphin19744 months ago
Nice introduction to a process and material I never knew existed! Thanks!
WVSundown4 months ago
You answered many of the questions I've had about using PMC. I feel more confident in using the medium now. Thank you for posting!
This is really neat! I never knew there was precious metal clay like this :D

Do you think you could mold this type of clay in a mold, allow it to harden, take it out, and then fire it?
Hi there!

Thank you so much for the interest in my project! It is a really cool and versatile material and I would love to get more people interested! I have seen several people use texture mats to press a texture into the clay, allow that to harden and then fire it, or push the clay into single sided mould. These methods seem to work because they allow you to minimize possible air bubbles or warps in the piece. However a two part mould may be more difficult as you could have more air bubbles trapped in the piece that aren't visible. It may take some trial and error. It is a really cool concept though. I'd love to see how it works! If you are interested in trying it I would always recommend trying it in polymer clay first to test as it is far less expensive than the silver clay. If there is interest I will post a follow up tutorial trying that out!

Thanks again! Also I have actually entered this into the jewelry challenge, If you could take a look when this is verified to enter, and vote if you think it is deserving, I would really appreciate it!
Using polymer clay first would be a very good idea!

I was thinking of trying a single-sided mold not sure I have the skills for 2 part :P Would be neat to see how it works :)
Nice to see this instructable.
Metal clay is really well-suited to use in a single-sided mold. Here’s an ‘ibile I posted using a silicone Han Solo in Carbonite mold that yielded both a copper pendant and a silver one. Silver clay is much easier to use to get to a good final product (though more expensive) compared to copper, if you don’t have a kiln for the firing. In retrospect, it was lucky that I fired the copper one on a charcoal block as there wasn’t too much firescale on the piece.
https://www.instructables.com/id/Han-Solo-in-Carbonite-Pendant-from-Copper-or-Silve/