What is silver clay?
Silver clay is a substance consisting of very small particles of silver mixed with an organic binder and water for use in making jewellery, beads and small sculptures. When dried and fired it becomes either pure silver or sterling silver depending on which type you use.
Originating in Japan in 1990, metal clay can be shaped just like any soft clay, by hand or using moulds. After drying, the clay can be fired in a variety of ways such as in a kiln, with a handheld gas torch, or on a gas stove, depending on the type of clay and the metal in it. The binder burns away, leaving the pure sintered metal. Shrinkage of approximately 10% for fine silver and around 15-20% for sterling silver (depending on the product used) occurs in the firing.
-Types of Silver clay-
There are several different companies offering various silver clay products with most having very similar firing rates and shrinkage rates. There is however fine silver clay and sterling silver clay which have different properties from one another. Fine silver fires at a higher temperature than sterling and has a lower shrinkage rate when fired. The process for firing fine silver is simpler and so can be done with just a blow torch however sterling requires a 2 stage firing and so a kiln is needed. Sterling silver clay is the strongest metal clay due to its additional copper content making it ideal for pieces such as rings.
Fine silver clay –has a purity of 99%
Sterling silver clay – has a purity of 92.5%
Is silver clay recyclable?
Silver clay is simply silver, water and an organic binder making it recyclable. Many silver clays are made from recycled silver themselves which as far as we’re concerned is just another great reason to choose silver clay for your creations.
So if you haven’t already i highly recommend you get involved in the fun and make some beautiful silver creations yourself.
How do I get started?
There are many places you can go to learn to make silver clay jewellery including my own studio. I am a qualified silver and glass teacher with many years of experience .I have a diploma in silver clay and also teach at the London school of jewellery. If you would like to learn more about my courses then click on the link where there is more information regarding the specific courses I teach. If however I am too far for you then there are plenty of other great teachers who can help teach you to make some stunning pieces of silver jewellery.