How to make silver jewellery
Ever wanted to make your own silver jewellery? Here's a breakdown of the different ways to make Silver jewellery.
Making your own silver jewellery can be a very rewarding activity, even the process of making it can be quite calming and therapeutic. The problem for most enthusiasts is where do they start. Below I will outline the different ways for you to get into silver jewellery design.
Silversmithing- When most people think of designing silver jewellery pieces they think of silversmithing. Silversmithing utilises many different skills and techniques that makes it hard to do at home without significant investment. The best way to start silversmithing would be through a formal education course or apprenticeship but there are also many individuals teaching short term courses in silversmithing. No matter which way you approach silversmithing you are going to need to invest a lot of time and money before you become a skilled silver smith but of course this can be totally worth it as long as you have the passion for it.
Silver lost wax casting is the technique of using wax to form the shape of the jewellery and then melting away the wax and replacing it with silver. The process goes as follows-
1) From an original design, a model is made in metal or resin. A rubber mould is then made from the model.
2) From this rubber mould multiple copies are made in wax. The wax copies are attached together by a connecting sprue. A group of wax copies are attached together to form what is called a tree.
3) The tree is then placed in a metal flask and covered with plaster of Paris. Once it hardens, the plaster mold is then heated in an oven. The wax melts and is lost, leaving a hollow plaster mold.
4) Molten gold is then poured into the mold as the entire mold is placed in a vacuum the vacuum action draws the gold down into every crevice of the mould forming a perfect copy of the original design.
5) The plaster is then broken and washed away from the now cooled gold casting. The individual gold items are now ready to be cut from the treaty for hand finishing and polishing.
Silver lost wax casting is primarily used in industrial settings to make many copies of a single piece as it is allows many more pieces to be made much quicker however you can also do lost wax casting on a smaller scale. Lost wax casting can be done on a smaller scale at home however I would strongly advise that you attend a course before attempting it at home as it involves molten metal and can be very dangerous.
Silver clay is a fairly modern product having only been developed in the 1990s. The advantage to silver clay jewellery over silversmithing is that it is much cheaper to get started as a silver clay jewellery designer. The silver clay itself is more expensive than silver however because of the tools and equipment required for silversmithing ,silver clay designing works out as more economical for a beginner. There are still many tools that can be utilised with silver clay however the only essential tools are silver clay and a blow torch (or kiln).You can just buy your own silver clay and torch off the internet and get started however this is not recommended as there are certain tricks and techniques you should probably know before starting and learning from your mistakes with silver clay is expensive! There are many great silver clay courses out there including our own courses however if we are too far for you you are sure to find a great teacher near you. Different students learn at different paces and there are always new courses to go on and new things to learn but as a bare minimum you should probably think about at least doing a beginners course before trying it on your own as there is a lot more to it than just shaping some silver clay. Also the insight of a professional teacher to guide you and advise you on equipment and tools is invaluable.
No matter what kind of silver jewellery you would like to make you are going to need to invest a lot of time and money but if you want to do it enough it will be completely worth the time and effort.