Precious Metal Clay – jewelry making

My daughter once asked me if I knew how to make jewelry.  I know that it is a very complicated process of mold making, lost wax casting, and involves a lot of heat – so I started looking for a really easy fun way to make jewerly at home.  I cam across the Precious Metal Clay product at Michaels and found out more about it online.

Precious Metal Clay lets you make fine jewelry with little experience or equipment. It works like Fimo clay, except it is more crumbly because it contains powdered precious metal, such as silver, or gold. (It will also dry out faster.) The organic clay binding burns off when you fire it and you end up with pure fine silver or gold in the shape of the clay you made.

If you have jewelry skills you can keep working it from there, soldering, shaping, etc.  You do not even have to fire this jewerly in a kiln – as you can use propane torch on a concrete or tile slab to fire your pieces just as effectively. 

Anything you make with this clay will shrink significantly when fired. However since the shrinkage is proportional, jewlers use this shrinkage to produce very fine detail that would be difficult if you had to work at full size. PMC comes in various formulations with different shrinkage rates. The original PMC shrinks 30%, while PMC+ and PMC3 shrinks only 10%. I have used the silver PMC+ and PMC3 on a few small pieces we made at home.

 My one piece of advice about firing PMC with a propane torch: This stuff is very expensive (it’s silver or gold, remember!) so take a small piece and sacrifice it to learn how to heat evenly first. It is very easy to overheat it which will melt the silver into a blob., which is bad. If you aren’t sure if it’s metal yet (it’ll be whitish), pick it up with needle nose plier and drop it very gently on the surface you fired it on.

PMC3
$13, 6 grams
PCM+
$43, 28 grams
Available from Metal Clay Supply

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