What is it?
An organic clay is mixed with very fine recycled and reclaimed silver particles, which are obtained from various industrial sources such as, eyeglass manufacture, photography supplies, athletic wear, utensils and of course silver jewellery that has been turned in for reclamation.
There are several brands in use now and they all have slightly different properties.
ie: different consistency, dried state and shrinkage rates, some are more suitable for twisting and sculpting.
Every metal clay artist has their own favorites, it all depends on what they want to achive!
How is it used?
An item is formed from the clay and dried, at which point it can be carved or sculpted and other elements can be attached, such as more dried clay layers, pre-fired or ready made fireable findings, bails brooch backs etc.
The piece is then fired, with a torch or in a kiln, at a temperature hot enough to burn away the clay binder and fuse (sinter) the metal particles together, this temperature can also vary from brand to brand. After firing a solid piece of Fine Silver is formed, which is then cooled and polished and there you have it, a piece of Fine Silver that can be Hallmarked .999 by the Assay office.
Our larger pieces are hallmarked at the Edinburgh Assay Office.
We love to add Gemstones to our silver, like these Dangle Bangles!
Metal clays are also available in a wide range of Base metals as well, including, bronze (in different colours), copper and steel.
These are just as easy to work with in the clay and dried state, but a little more difficult to fire, generally needing a kiln for the best results.